2011 Climate Review

What was 2011 like in the climate department? 2011 had extreme weather from extreme wet to dry or extreme cold to hot. 2011 had many deadly tornado outbreaks that killed many people. 2011 goes down a memorable year in the weather world with many billion dollar disasters. So, how did 2011 stack up in terms of rainfall and temperature?

USA
Rainfall
28.78

Temperature
54.53°F

The rainfall was within average, which is 29.18 inches. There is a wide gap between a lot of rain and little rain. It ranks 45th driest or 73rd wettest on record. New York City and Philadelphia had their wettest year on record, largely due to the heavy rains in August and Hurricane Irene. On the other hand, Amarillo and Wichita Falls had their driest year on record. That is a huge difference wet and dry However, the temperature is above normal, which is largely due to the hot summer that plagued the nation. Summer 2011 is the second hottest summer after summer of 1936. 1936 was very hot and dry, especially in the Midwest. It was also the center of the Dust Bowl. 2011 ranks 95th coolest or 23rd warmest on record. It was indeed a warm year for America.

Texas
Rainfall
14.89

Temperature
67.17°F

2011 goes down as the driest year on record going back to 1895. That is no surprise that Texas is in its worst one year drought. Pecos, Texas had (drums rolling please) 1.06 inches of rain in one year! Talk about really dry right there! If true, it would be the driest year in Texas history, beating 0.64 inches of rain at Presidio, Texas in 1956, another severe drought year. The lack of rain would make life boring right there. It was quite warm in Texas despite the cold winters of 2010-2011. Summer 2011 was the hottest on record and for America! It was a very hot summer and hopefully we will never see that again in our life time. It was toasty in Texas that it is the second warmest year after 1921. 1921 was the year that Central Texas got hit by a massive flood from a hurricane remnant. Thrall, Texas saw 38.2 inches of rain in 18 hours! Sadly, 215 people lost their life in the flood, which is the deadliest non-storm surge flood in Texas to this day.

Upper Texas Coast
Rainfall
25.37

Temperature
70.85°F

The same can be said about the Upper Texas Coast as well in the rainfall department. 2011 was the driest year on record for Upper Texas Coast. However, at Houston had 24.57 inches, which is the third driest on record thanks to rain in the fall and winter. We still have plenty to catch in the rain department. 2011 was a warm year alright, which ranked 7th warmest year on record. 2011 ties with 1950, which also a La Nina year. The reason for this rank was that the winter of 2010-2011 was cooler than normal. Had the winter of 2010-2011 had been warmer, 2011 would have been easily number one warmest year on record. Houston’s annual average was 71.8°F, which is second to 1962.

So, what will 2012 be like? Only time can tell. However, since we had the heavy rains on January 9, 2012, I am thinking it could be like 1989. The last time we had heavy rain and flooding in January was on January 18, 1989, when up to 5 inches of rain fell in Houston and led to flooding. There was also a severe drought that time from 1988 and it was La Nina. However, that is another topic. Until than, let us hope that 2012 is a better year in the weather world.

All data is from Division Data.

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