U.S. endures second-hottest summer on record
But not by much. The warmest national average for June, July and August was 74.6 in 1936. This summer's average was 74.5.
The temperature average has to be considered in context. Some regions experienced unseasonably cool weather, and California and New Jersey had their wettest summers ever.
As has been previously reported, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana had their warmest summers on record. Average summer temperatures in Texas and Oklahoma exceeded the previous seasonal statewide average temperature record for any state during any season.
Texas had its driest summer on record, with a statewide average of 2.44 inches of rain, more than five inches below the long-term average, and one inch less than the previous driest summer in 1956. New Mexico had its second-driest summer, and Oklahoma its third-driest.
Two other interesting notes from the data, released through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
--The U.S. Climate Extremes Index, which measures the percentage of the country experiencing extreme climate conditions, was nearly four times the average value during summer 2011.
--Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index, the temperature-related energy demand in the lower 48 states was 22.3% above average this summer, also a record.
Photo: A dried lake in Texas. Credit: Matt Slocum / Associated Press