Heat: No records, but no relief either

Written by Jayson Jacoby September 16, 2013 08:59 am

By Jayson Jacoby

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The summer of 2013 hasn’t overwhelmed Baker County with sweltering heat, but the season has been awfully consistent in its warmth.

Both July and August were hotter than average — July’s average high of 88 degrees surpassed the average by three degrees, and August’s 88.1 was almost four degrees above average.

Neither month came close to breaking any records, though.

Monthly weather records from the Baker City Airport date to 1943, and among those 70 years this July ranks as the 10th warmest, and August as the 11th warmest.

Combine those two months, though, and you get a rather more historical result.

The July-August average high of 88.1 is exceeded by just four other years: 1961 (90.2), 1998 (89.5), 1967 (89.2), and 2003 (88.6).

And by another measure this summer was even more exceptional.

This is a purely subjective matter, to be sure, but most people probably would agree that 80 degrees is a reasonable threshold separating a merely mild day from a truly summer-like one.

In that respect only one year in the past 20 can match 2013 for sustained summer weather.

On just three days — two in July, one in August — did the temperature at the airport fail to reach 80.

(And on those two days in July, the high was 79.)

Since 1992 (daily temperature records aren’t available from earlier years) only one year had as few as three days, in July and August combined, when the temperature stayed below 80.

That was 2003, when there was one such day in July and two in August.

The 20-year average, by contrast, is 12 such days during that two-month period.

There have been summers with as many as 20 days with a high below 80 — in 2002 (eight in July, 12 in August) and 1995 (nine in July, 11 in August).

All of which goes toward explaining why this summer, though it lacked triple-digit days (the hottest was 97, on two days in August and one in July), seemed sort of stifling.

And the torrid trend has continued through much of the first half of September.

The temperature stayed below 80 on five of the first 15 days, but on the coolest of those five the high was still 74.

The average high for the month, through the 15th, was 82.7 degrees — well above the average of 78.4.

This September’s average will begin to tumble, though, later this week.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a high of just 67 on Tuesday.

That would make it the coolest day since June 25, when the high was 65.