The numbers for September have been crunched and sure enough it has been a warm one in the District and for the lower 48 as well. That coupled with dry weather has caused the drought to expand.
♦ The average temperature in September at Reagan National Airport was 72.2 degrees, which was 1.2 degrees above average. Interestingly enough, temperatures have been above average each consecutive month since November 2011!
♦ Rainfall was slightly above average with a total of 4.29 inches. Still, rainfall is well shy of average with a precipitation deficit of about 7.50 inches since the start of the year.
How does this compare to the rest of the lower 48 for September? Well, the hot weather was focused in the West in September.
♦ NOAA reports California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming each had temperatures in the top ten warmest for any September since weather records began.
♦ The Ohio Valley was the exception to the rule. Temperatures were cooler than average and precipitation above average. As a matter of fact, Ohio and Kentucky had their top ten wettest September.
♦ Nationally, temperatures averaged 67.0 degrees, which is 1.4 degrees above the 20th century average, according to NOAA. This ties September 1980 as the 23rd warmest September on record. Just like D.C. has seen 11 months of above-average temperatures; the U.S. had 16 consecutive months of above average temperatures.
♦ The drought area expanded a bit from August; now 64.6% of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought, slightly larger than the extent of drought at the end of August.
♦ Wildfire activity was well-above average in the Northwest, specifically Montana, Oregon and Washington. Nearly 1.1-million acres burned in September, making that a record for the month.
Year-to-Date in the U.S.:
♦ The first nine months of the year were the warmest on record for the contiguous U.S., with a national temperature that was 3.8 degrees above the average.
♦ The first nine months of 2012 have been the 11th driest such period on record for the contiguous U.S. with a precipitation total 1.98 inches below the average of 22.67 inches.