CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — If you remember back a few months ago, you may recall seeing reports that parts of the U.S. were suffering from intense heat waves and droughts with some places receiving the hottest temperatures on record, but despite this intensity and reports of the hottest summer on record, things seemed normal in West Virginia, here’s why.
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), summer 2023 (June-August) was the 15th warmest year for the U.S. since 1895, with an average temperature of 73.0°F, which is 1.6°F above average. However, despite the national average being driven up by states with particularly warm summers such as Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, areas like the west-central plains, Southeast and Ohio Valley experienced below-average temperatures.
The NCEI also reported that West Virginia was among five other states that saw below-average temperatures for the entire summer with West Virginia seeing the coolest average nationwide.
National averages can also be skewed by hot spot events and meteorological anomalies that occur during the season. For example, according to NASA, the El Niño phenomenon that returned this year contributed to an increase in sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Because of this, temperatures globally were skewed partially upward with hotspots being found in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
Additional data collected by NASA shows that summer 2023 was the hottest on record globally, likely due to an increase in these hotspots combined with El Niño. However, despite the global increase, much of North America and the U.S. was spared from the most extreme hotspot activity with the main temperature hotspots on land being concentrated in southern Europe, South America, parts of Antarctica and Japan.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, West Virginia fell into one of the few cooler spots around the globe, which were found in eastern North America, southern Asia, southern South America, central Africa and Greenland.