95ºF

Just how hot is it these days?

Hotter than normal is the new normal

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(joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Hot days are stacking up. Every afternoon since June 27 the mercury has soared above 90°. The last week has been especially brutal, with every day at least to 96° and three days over 100°. So far today, we have no heat advisory.

There is not much relief in sight, with the exception of a sea breeze shower making an appearance this weekend, bringing afternoon highs to the mid-90s (the average is 94°).

Like it or not, this is the new normal. Climate Central shows how temperatures the last fifty years have continually risen in Houston. Warmer-than-normal summer days have done nothing but increase. We’re basically getting a whole extra month of summer:

Warmer than normal summer days over the decades
Warmer than normal summer days over the decades

That’s SIX TIMES as many warmer-than-normal summer days since the 1970s! So the question becomes, well, just HOW MUCH warmer? I mean, it’s all relative.

Average Summer Temperatures
Average Summer Temperatures

The above chart shows an average of almost 4° degrees above normal since 1970, but if you look at just this decade it’s actually closer to 6°. Whether you think that is significant or not, you can’t deny the trend.

Overnight lows aren’t much help

The same goes for nighttime temperatures which, this month, have had a hard time falling below 80°. That can be alarming because we need those nights to cool down and at least give us a fighting start against the afternoon heat

Nighttime averages
Nighttime averages

Nights are tending warmer than our already warmer-than-normal daytime averages! And it’s no comfort that most of the nation is right there with us:

National Summer Warming
National Summer Warming

So what to do with this information? Concentrate on more green spaces, more energy efficiency and lowering our carbon footprint for starters. Yes, there is a lot we can do to fight back. Otherwise, we’ll just get hotter. You can read the full report at Climate Central right here.

Frank

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