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Latest U.S. Climate Report: Sept. ’21 5th-warmest on record

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FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2009 file photo is an aerial view of the steel company ThyssenKrupp in Duisburg, western Germany. Inger Andersen, head of the U.N. Environment Program, says the world needs ‘quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020.’ Ahead of a global climate summit in Madrid next week, her agency published a report Tuesday showing the amount of planet-heating gases released into the atmosphere hitting a new high last year.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein,file)

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – As we head into the last few months of the year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their September 2021 Climate Report. This takes a look at temperatures and precipitation for the month, as well as looking at year-to-date data from January 2021 through September 2021. Extremes of the month of September are also discussed in addition to looking at weather and climate disasters for the year thus far.  

Looking back at the month of September, the contiguous United States saw an average temperature of 67.8 degrees Fahrenheit, this is 3 degrees warmer than the 20th century average. With this, September 2021 is the 5th warmest September in the 127 period of record of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

As for those in the Big Country, most saw an above average September as well. In Abilene we only saw 2 days below average, with the remaining 28 days staying at or above average. Abilene also set a new daily high temperature record of 104 degrees.

Looking at precipitation, the Northwest, Southwest, and central Plains saw above average precipitation, while the country as a whole was 0.16” below average. Remnants of Hurricane Ida brought above average precipitation to portions of the northeast. Pennsylvania had its 7th wettest September and Massachusetts had its 2nd wettest thanks to the remnants of that storm.  

Looking at Abilene, we stayed in a precipitation deficit for the month. We saw 2.58”, with the majority of it received September 30th.  

September at a glance for Abilene

Looking at drought for the month of September, by the 28th about 48% of the U.S. was in drought. This is up just about 1% from the month of August. Portions of the Midwest and southern Plains saw rapid drought development during the second half of the month. However, drought severity and coverage lessened across parts of the West, northern Plains, and New England.

Drought monitor from September 7, 2021 compared to September 28, 2021.

The report also updated the 2021 billion-dollar weather and climate disaster dataset to include ten additional events for the year so far. These included five severe storm events, four tropical cyclone events, and one wildfire event. Through the end of September, 18 weather and climate disaster events have been identified with losses exceeded $1 billion each for the year so far. These events include many severe storm events, a drought/heat wave event, the winter storm event in February, as well as many other events. The 18 events we have seen across the country so far is just four events shy of the record set in 2020.

The disaster costs for the first nine months of this year are $104.8 billion. This has already surpassed the disaster costs for the entire year of 2020 which landed at $100.2 billion, adjusted for inflation. The most costly disaster to-date in 2021 is Hurricane Ida – exceeding $60 billion. Hurricane Ida will be ranked among the top five most costly hurricanes on record (since 1980). Ida’s total cost will likely increase further as recovery and rebuilding efforts continue. This year also leads in fatalities, through September disasters have caused more than twice the number of fatalities from all events combined in 2020.

They rounded out the report with year-to-date highlights. Year-to-date temperatures were above average across the West, the northern and central Plains, Great Lakes, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and portions of the Southeast. However the Deep South, including the Big Country, has seen below average temperatures for the year-to-date. The average temperature was 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 1.9 degrees above the 20th century average. Making this the 10th warmest January-September on record.  

January to September precipitation was above average across portions of the Southwest and from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast. The year-to-date national precipitation total was 23.58″, which is 0.38″ above average.

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