Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hottest day in Houston's history

Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey ten miles north of Atlantic City at 5:30 am EDT, as a minimum-strength Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. Irene is only the second hurricane since 1851 to hit New Jersey. At 9 am EDT, Irene made a third U.S. landfall over Long Island, NY, and New York City, as a tropical storm with 65 mph winds.


This brings total rainfall for the month of August in New York City to 19.68", making it the wettest month in the city since record keeping began in 1869. The previous record was 16.85", set in September 1882. Philadelphia, PA and Newark, NJ have also set all-time wettest month records, thanks to Irene's rains. The 19.40" of rain that has fallen in Philadelphia this August is probably the most rain any major city in the Northeast, U.S. has received since 22.43" fell in Newark, NJ in August 1843, according to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt.


The mercury hit 109°F (42.8°C) yesterday at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, tying September 4, 2000 as the hottest day in the city's history. Yesterday was the also the hottest August day on record in Houston, besting the 108°F reading of August 18, 1909. This year, Houston has set its record for all-time hottest temperature, most 100° days in a year (36, old record was 32, and 4 is normal), and most consecutive 100° days (24, old record was 14.) Weather records in Houston go back to 1889. Houston needs 20.18" of rain to get to normal levels of rainfall for the year. Today's high is predicted to be 107°F in Houston, so yesterday's record may be in danger of being broken today.


So the average=mean rainfall this year for the U.S. might not look bad. Shows how the mean can be misleading. The mean is the "average" we computed in school by adding up all the values and dividing by the number of values. Another average is the median, where half the values are below and half are above.


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