Through July 30, the temperature at Reagan National Airport has averaged 84.1 degrees F. The current gold medalist in our heat competition is July 2011, which averaged a slightly warmer 84.5ºF. With July 2012 set to become our second-hottest July, it will bump July 2010 into third place.
But while this July takes the silver medal for average monthly temperature, which July actually felt hotter to you: July 2011 or July 2012?
Read below for more commentary and statistics on these two most recent Julys...
In 2011, we had 25 days of 90+ temperatures and just three 100-degree days. This month, we’ve had 21 90-degree days but 7 of those climbed to 100ºF or higher (beating out the old monthly record of six 100-degree days in 1930).
And let’s not forget our record 11-day stretch of temperatures 95 degrees or higher that began in late June and peaked on July 7 at 105ºF. That day’s average temperature of 94ºF was D.C.’s all-time hottest on record.
So, which of the last two brutally hot Julys was worse by a subjective measure? If upper 90s and 100-degree days is your metric, then 2012 wins easily. Plus, anyone who spent days without power after the derecho would probably argue that July 2012 felt hotter.
Yet overall – by account of persistent heat and humidity – I still consider July 2011 the worse of the two evil infernos.
It was last year’s high humidity that helped D.C. achieve a record 7 days on which overnight low temperatures failed to drop below 80 degrees – including two 84-degree lows that tied D.C.’s all-time record high minimum temperature. By contrast, July 2012 had four overnight lows of 80ºF or higher – still too many, but perhaps slightly more tolerable.
In conclusion: whether you thought this July felt hotter or cooler than last year is purely subjective. Both months set a number of new heat records, so maybe I’m splitting hairs. But when we consider the overall discomfort level of the month, July 2011 has a slight edge in my book.
How do you think our two hottest Julys stack up? Feel free to comment below.