Warmest September on Record
By Russell Russ
Our warm and dry conditions continued throughout most of September. This was a continuation of the weather we have had here since early July. Last September was the driest September on record and this year was the warmest. It was just about set to be the sixth driest September this year until the last day of the month when we finally received a good soaking rain. Perhaps the tide has finally turned and we will turn back to more normal conditions as we move further along into autumn.
September’s high temperature of 89 degrees was observed on September 8, making it the warmest day of 2015. We never reached 90 degrees or above at the weather station this year. The one daily record this month was the 86 degrees recorded on September 7, which tied the previous 2007 record. We came within a couple of degrees of record highs on September 8 and 9.
The low temperature of 36 degrees was observed on September 27. The first frost of the season came on September 27 when there were reports of several low lying areas with a light frost, but there was no frost at the weather station during the month.
The average mean temperature in September was 64.7 degrees, 5.9 degrees above normal. It was the warmest September on record for the Norfolk station. The five warmest Septembers on record for the station’s 84-year history are: 2015 with 64.7, 1961 with 64.6, 2001 with 64.0, 2011 with 63.1 and 2005 with 62.9. In fact, five of the seven warmest have occurred in the last 11 years (since 2005) and seven of our eight warmest have occurred in the last 18 years (since 1998). Seems like Norfolk’s summer season has extended into September, at least for the time being.
The rainfall total for September was 4.00 inches, 0.73 inches below normal. The 2.25 inches that fell the last day of the month helped to bring us closer to normal, but the yearly deficit is still large and actually grew during the month. There were no thunderstorms this month, continuing the trend we have seen all summer long. It was almost the summer with no thunder—very strange.
Through September this year, the total yearly precipitation amount was 31.85 inches, 7.46 inches below normal and almost exactly 10 inches below last year’s total through September. For some perspective on our dry year, our driest year on record was 1965 with 33.89 inches and our tenth driest year was 1943 with 42.53 inches. If our dry trend continues then we could easily be within the top 10 for driest years on record.