Summer Heat Wave

The summer of 2006 was particularly warm. The average June-August 2006 temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) was 2.4°F (1.3°C) above the 20th century average. This was the second warmest summer on record for the contiguous United States, only slightly cooler than the record set in 1936.38 Eight of the past ten summers have been warmer than average in the United States.39

A long-lasting summer heat wave started in mid-July in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, spread across the Plains and into the West, returned to the northern Plains by late July, and then hit the East Coast in early August. The last two weeks of July alone broke more than 50 all-time high temperature records.40 Las Vegas, Nevada and Cheyenne, Wyoming experienced their warmest June on record. In California, Fresno experienced is warmest July on record, averaging 87.8°F. Stockton recorded its highest temperature ever of 115°F on July 23. Woodland Hills recorded its highest temperature ever of 119°F on July 22 and experienced 21 days in July over 100°F. In South Dakota, numerous locations reached record high temperatures in the month of July, including Mount Rushmore (100°F on July 30), Pierre (117°F on July 15), and Rapid City (111°F on July 15).41 These are just a few examples of the many records broken during the 2006 summer.

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