How Do Previous Hot Summers In Detroit Stack Up Thus Far To This Summer?

First; looking at June of 2012, its closest buddy in the group of hot miserable summers when using its average temperature was June 1995 with an average of 71.6 (as opposed to this June's 72.3). However; a nearly duplicate for average high shines right on June of 1988 with an average high of 83.9 (as compared to this Junes 84.0 degrees even). In addition; taking into consideration some more heat island affect this June on the average low in June /60.6/. I feel the best comparison thus far to this summer is the Summer of 1988. Though June's low averaged cooler in 1988 /56.9/ leading to a cooler average of 70.5; the drier air masses, subsequent lack of rain, upper wind flow and now, number of 100 degree days into this July thus far; is very similar to that of 1988!  Hopefully, the biggest difference this summer as opposed to 1988 will be the total number of days with 90 degrees or better. Back in 1988, we saw (and felt) an incredible 39! So far this summer thru 7/17 we've had 20 days of 90 or better; compared to 23 for the entire season last year. In addition; thru 7/17 we've felt three 100s at Detroit...all in the month of July. We also just missed a 100 degree temperature on June 28th when we nicked 99.

The Summer of 2005 is next in line for similarity for June alone but with an actually warmer average of 74.1. However; here it was a more humid and wetter summer into July when compared to this summer; AGAIN THUS FAR (as of 7/17) as rainfall can change on a dime and alter things!


The following was written up at the end of the Summer of 2011 comparing the entire summers:

How does this summer compare to other hot summers in Detroit?


Ave High
J-  80.4
J-  89.3
A-  82.6   

Ave Low
J-  60.7
J-  69.3
A-  63.7




Looking at the charts, one can see that the Summer of 2011's average temp of 74.4 is a duplicate of the Summer of 2010 and is nearly a duplicate of 1995 and 2005 (2nd/3rd hottest summers at just a tenth higher). So where does the more notable difference show up?  2011 summer's high temperature /84.1/  averaged over a 1/2 degree warmer than 2010 (and no one will debate that one).  Still, it was far "cooler" that our summer of 1988 when the average high temperature of was 86.2! (editor note: to me and I'm sure many others, the Summer of '88 will long be remembered as the hottest summer in recent memory even though it placed 5th (now 6th) in the hottest summer rankings. That summer saw high temperatures push to 90 or better 39 days with five of those, 100's).  No summer since 1988 has even come close!  It was only because the overnight low temperatures averaged lower with its "desert-like" atmosphere at times). 

The summer of 1995 was the closest to this summer in regards to average highs/lows and number of 90s (there was also a 100 that summer too). The summer of 1955 was a little hotter in average highs (containing 9 more 90s+).  It also had one hot July,  I made note of this in my July write-up.

July 2011 

Detroit July Ave:    79.3 - Hottest July/month on record
Flint July Ave:       76.8 - Third hottest July/month on record
Saginaw July Ave:  76.1 - Fourth hottest July/month on record

Rank Detroit Area* Flint Bishop** Saginaw Area***
Coldest Warmest Coldest Warmest Coldest Warmest
Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year
1 12.2 Feb-1875 79.0 Jul-1955 10.9 Jan-1977 78.0 Jul-1921 9.4 Jan-1912 77.5 Jul-1921
2 12.8 Jan-1977 79.0 Jul-1921 12.8 Feb-1979 77.7 Jul-1935 10.4 Jan-1918 76.8 Jul-1916
3 13.1 Jan-1912 77.9 Jul-1916 13.1 Jan-1963 76.7 Jul-1934 11.6 Jan-1963 76.2 Jul-1935
4 13.2 Jan-1918 77.7 Jul-1931 13.4 Feb-1978 76.5 Jul-1955 11.7 Feb-1904 76.0 Jul-1931
5 14.8 Feb-1934 77.1 Aug-1995 13.8 Jan-1994 76.1 Jul-1931 12.1 Jan-1994 75.9 Jul-1955

July of 1955 was previously the hottest July (some data actually shows that July averaged 79.1). The difference that summer was August was also hot with an average temperature of 75.7 (2 1/2 degrees hotter than August 2011). It was June that was cooler in 1955 with 68.5 as opposed to this June's 70.6.

1 comment:

  1. Sweatin' BulletsJuly 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Thanks for all the info Bill, wonderful job! I thought 2012 has been the hottest summer that I can recall....however back in '88 I had A/C which could be the reason I don't remember it being such a sweltering summer! lol

    My pedestal fan is my best buddy...we've been joined at the hip this hot Detroit summer.
    Keep cool Bill!