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Energy & Environment

Austin Weather This Summer Was Remarkable, But Maybe Not In The Way You Think

Heavy rain falls at an apartment complex in South Austin on June 3.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
Heavy rain falls at an apartment complex in South Austin on June 3. This summer had a remarkable number of rainy days.

It’s been a strange year weather-wise in Austin. In February, the city was hit by a winter storm and blackout that stands as one of the worst disasters in Texas history. But, since then, things have been … kind of nice?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been hot. Out of the 123 years of record-keeping, this June through August was still the 38th warmest summer in terms of average temperature.

But if you look at more recent history — since global warming and urban buildout have increased city heat — this summer was slightly cooler than what we’ve come to expect.

Austin's Camp Mabry weather station recorded an average temperature of 84.6 degrees. That's a half-degree cooler than average in terms of summer temperatures over the last 30 years.

The daytime highs have also not been as extreme as we’ve recently experienced. For example, we’ve only had five triple-digit days so far this year.

“Last year, there were 48 hundred-degree days, and the 30-year average is now up to 26,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Keith White. “So, we're well below that with only five hundred-degree days."

White says the relative coolness has been due to wetter-than-average weather. With 11.24 inches of rainfall recorded, this was the 23rd wettest summer in the city’s recorded history.

But the really remarkable thing about summer 2021 was the number of days it rained.

This summer, Camp Mabry clocked 29 days with measurable precipitation. That makes it the third rainiest summer when it comes to days of rainfall in the 123 years of record-keeping.

“In terms of rankings amongst the historical record, that is certainly the most noticeable,” White said.

While all that rain and cloudiness kept high temperatures lower in the day, White said it actually had the opposite effect at night, when the humidity stopped the air from cooling.

That’s why nighttime temperatures this summer were actually about a degree above average.

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