Warmest August on Record

By Russell Russ

August weather in Norfolk was very summer-like and full of nice warm sunny days. Could it have been too warm and sunny? This August ranked as Norfolk’s warmest August and fifth warmest month of any month over the last ninety-one years. Not only was it warm, it was also very dry. It ranked as Norfolk’s fifth driest August. It would have been the driest August and likely the driest month of any month had it not been for a couple of rain showers during the second half of the month. These rankings are impressive, like it or not.

August’s high temperature of 91 degrees was observed on August 4. This was also the hottest day of 2022 to date. The low of 50 degrees was observed on August 13 and 14. The monthly mean temperature of 71.8 degrees was 5.4 degrees above normal. It surpassed the 71.0 degree average from August 2001 to become the new warmest August. There were two days this month with highs of 90 or above, bringing the summer total up to three days, which is about average for Norfolk. Three days early in the month (August 6-8) set or tied daily record highs. What seemed to be the difference maker this year was that the nighttime lows stayed higher than usual, thus bringing the daily average up. The coolest August on record was in 1964 with 61.5 degrees.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 1.37 inches, 3.23 inches below normal. One thunderstorm on August 23 and a little rain on the last day of the month made all the difference in the rainfall ranking. This summer’s low rainfall totals have been completely opposite from last year’s overly wet totals. Rainfall this August was hit or miss all over the state. Some towns got impressive totals while others did not get much. That is how it usually goes unless there is a hurricane or tropical storm in play. The hurricane season got off to a very slow start this year. The reigning champion of wet months is still the infamous Flood of ’55 August of 1955 with 23.67 inches. Norfolk’s driest August was in 1953 with just 0.65 inch, which was also Norfolk’s fifth driest month of any month.

Through August, the total precipitation amount for the year was 27.53 inches, 6.82 inches below normal. Just for the three months of June, July and August, Norfolk was 7.10” below normal. This year we are 12.25 inches less than last year’s total through August. On the bright side, this year we are 3.02 inches above 2020’s rainfall totals.

September started off warmer than normal, but it also was cloudier than previous months. The cloudier and more unsettled weather brought much needed rainfall to the area. Through September 21, the Hurricane season was still getting off to a slow start, but it had begun and had produced several storms, none of which came anywhere near the east coast. Weather patterns make all the difference and the patterns changed in September. By the third week of the month, Norfolk was already 0.25 inch above normal for rainfall. Hit or miss storms again, but this time we got some hits. Foliage had begun its seasonal change, earlier this year due to the dry summer. It is time to bring forth some classic beautiful fall weather.