Austin records hottest summer on record, and driest since 1910
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the official final numbers for 2023.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — For years, Central Texas’ hot summers have been judged by comparison to 2011 — Austin’s hottest summer on record. But as summer ended at 11:59 p.m. on August 31, it became clear that this summer had been much hotter in parts of the city.
Austin records hottest summer on record
We averaged hourly temperature data from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport between June 1 and August 31, throughout the meteorological summer. 2023 was the hottest meteorological summer on record at the airport, with records dating back to 1942.
This summer came right behind 2011 as the hottest on record at Camp Mabry in Austin. Austin’s average day and night temperatures were 89.4 degrees Celsius, just a tenth of a degree behind the hottest summer in history.
Climate change is heating up Austin’s summers
Although records go back to 1897, all 10 of Austin’s hottest summers on record have come since 1998.
As the climate warms, summer temperatures in Austin have risen by 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century. We now average 30°C days each summer, three times the average number of 100°C days between 1969 and 1999.
The number of days is 100 degrees
Thursday was the 69th day of summer in Austin — tied for the second-highest number of triple-digit heat days on record.
While the summer of 2011 set an all-time record of 90 days at 100 degrees or more in Austin, 14 of those days came in September. As of August 31, the number of 100-degree days for 2023 is just seven days behind that point in 2011.
The fascinating statistic from this summer is that in 2023, more than half of our days had triple-digit heat Maximum Hot days. This year, Austin recorded 40 days of high temperatures of 105 degrees or higher, while 2011 saw only 26 such days.
Austin records driest summer since 1910
The summer of 2023 was near-record dry as well. Between June 1 and August 31, Camp Mabry recorded just 1.31 inches of rain — just 15% of normal summer precipitation (8.38 inches).
Driest summer in Austin history:
- 0.98 inch (1910)
- 1.31 inches (2023)
- 1.45 inches (1934)
What to expect in September?
Although much hope for drought relief is pinned on a burgeoning El Niño pattern in the Pacific, El Niño does. no It has a strong relationship to increased precipitation in September in Central Texas. Most of the El Niño rain that overcomes the drought falls locally between December and February.
New forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are pessimistic for next month, with hotter and drier than normal weather expected to persist for now.
KXAN first warned you this week that although El Niño should make weather wetter than usual in Texas this winter, an almost equal and opposite force called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) may balance that out and bring more precipitation patterns. “Normal” rain.