As the planet continues to heat up, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information announced that September 2019 tied for the second-warmest September on record in the continental United States.
Records toppled as a stubborn heat dome baked the Southeast, bringing unrelenting scorchers that climbed into the triple digits in some spots.
The Climate Prediction Center’s three-month temperature outlook favors anomalous warmth across the contiguous United States through the remainder of autumn.
The average temperature was 68.5 degrees, which is 3.5 degrees above the 20th century average. September 2019 ties for second place for the warmest in a 125-year stretch of records. In terms of precipitation, the month was on par with average.
The most abnormally hot weather was in the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Five out of 48 states recorded their warmest September on record: Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. Thirty-three others were above average. Only eight states — on the West Coast and in northern New England — remained near average.
In the Southeast, an exceptional dry spell beneath the dominant high pressure led to scant rainfall and drought.
Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi saw their driest Septembers on record — as did Kentucky and West Virginia.
The dry air made it easier for the atmosphere to heat up, with the mercury hitting the century mark in a number of places. Huntsville, Ala., hit 100 degrees twice — a mark the city hasn’t reached so late in the year since the 1990s.