July wasn’t the hottest ever in Akron, but it sure felt like it.
Last month, temperatures hit or topped 90 degrees on 13 of 31 days at Akron-Canton Airport, according to the National Weather Service. Typically, there are only two or three days in July when temperatures rise that high.
August is starting out hot, too.
The temperature hit 91 on Friday and the forecast for today is also in the 90s.
Akron-Canton’s average hourly temperature in July was 77.5 degrees, 5.5 degrees warmer than normal.
Last month tied a record set in 1916 for the third-hottest July on record. The hottest July on the books was in 1931, with an average temperature of 78 degrees. No. 2 was in 1921 at 77.8 degrees.
The average daily high temperature in Akron this July was 88.7 degrees. The normal July high daily temperature is 82 degrees.
July’s heat wave began with a high of 94 degrees recorded July 1. The area topped 90 degrees on four successive days starting July 4 and ending July 7, when it was 101 degrees.
The month’s lowest temperature was 56 degrees on July 25.
So how does 2012 compare with infamous drought year 1988 for bringing the heat?
In 1988, the average high daily temperatures in May was 72.1 degrees; in June, 81.5 degrees; and in July, 91.1 degrees.
In 2012, the average high in May was 78.4 degrees; in June it was 82.6 degrees; and in July it was 88.7 degrees. From May through July this year, the area has had 22 days of 90- degree heat.
According to preliminary data from NOAA and the National Climatic Data Center, 4,313 record-high temperatures were set across the country in July.
A total of 299 of those record highs were the warmest temperatures ever observed for the entire month and 171 records were the highest temperatures ever, according to AccuWeather, a Pennsylvania-based private weather service.
Officials say the culprit for the heat wave has been the location of the jet stream, a thin river of air miles high that guides the path of potential storms.
Unusually strong high pressure developed over much of the central part of the nation, pushing the jet stream much farther north than usual.
Recent rains and thunderstorms have helped ease drought-like conditions in Northeast Ohio.
In July, Akron-Canton Airport recorded 3.96 inches of rain, 0.12 inch less than normal.
For the year, the Akron-Canton region has recorded 18.22 inches of rain, 5.66 inches below normal.
From January through June, Ohio was the 10th driest state in the nation, according to federal data.
Most of Northeast Ohio remains in a moderate drought, with rainfall generally being 1.25 to 1.99 inches below normal.
Most of western Ohio is in extreme drought, with rainfall more than 2.75 inches below normal.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.