If I ask you to describe this summer in 1 word… many of you would choose the word “cool”. But when you put the numbers together, what you come up with, is a bit surprising. It takes a long time for us to put these statistics together… so for now, we’re just looking at the month of July:
Above is a chart of the last 6 Julys (2009 – 2014). We’ve got the hottest and coldest temperatures recorded in each July, as well as how many days reached or exceeded 90°. The historical average for the month of July is 72.6° (historical average based on 1981 – 2010). The “actual average temperature” which is: (the observed high temperature for each day + the observed low from each day) / 2. The final column shows you how many degrees warmer or cooler than average.
Out of those 6 Julys… one clearly stands out as the coldest… and it’s not 2014. That’s right, the July of 2009 was much colder than one we just experienced. In July 2009… Poughkeepsie was 3.6° below average. In 2014, Poughkeepsie was 0.6° above average… making 2009 a full 4.2° colder than July 2014. In 2009, Poughkeepsie didn’t hit 90° once. This July, we got to the 90° mark 4 times.
But there is a very good reason why July 2014 has felt so cool to most of us. Take a look at the 4 Julys from 2010 – 2013… those months were all well above average. Each July was over 3° above average… and last July was a whopping 4.5° above average. So while this July was technically above average… it was still 3.9° cooler than last July. So if you’re wondering why this July felt so cool… it’s because the 4 Julys before this one… were exceptionally warm.
Taking it a step further… I’ve looked at all the Julys from 1991 thru 2014. And the numbers above don’t lie… this July was really in the middle of the road. There were plenty of Julys warmer than this one, and just as many cooler than July 2014. In 1995, July was 4.0° above normal and hit 100° twice… and then the very next year, July 1996 was 2.3 below normal and never even reached 90°. So there are drastic swings from one July to the next.
Heck, even a statistics guy like myself was shocked when I looked at some of the data. I was stunned when I saw what looks to be the hottest temperature ever recorded in Poughkeepsie during July 1995. Apparently on July 15, 1995… the high temperature was a mind boggling 106°! I dug down deeper trying to verify the information… and found the hourly reports from KPOU (the Poughkeepsie station). Sure enough, 3pm and 5pm both have 106°. Apparently the heat melted the thermostat at 4pm, because the station didn’t report in. Perhaps the spotter was just passed out from heat exhaustion. I can’t recall this day… but I feel like it would be unforgettable… because at 6pm it was still 104°… and at 7pm the station recorded 101.8°! I had always believed that the hottest day on record in Poughkeepsie was 103°… so digging through the data uncovered something I didn’t know. Wild stuff!
This section is something Alex and I have wanted to do for some time now. We’ve received numerous questions about the weather we’ve seen in 2014. The most common of late is how does this summer ranks against the record books, which is why we’ve started with this post. Our hope is that this becomes a weekly or bi-weekly segment. For now, we’ll start on a trial basis, and if the feedback is positive, we’ll keep it going. Finally here are the Poughkeepsie temperature statistics, and Year To Date Rainfall statistics as of August 16th: