Are summers in the United States hotter than ever before? The answer appears to be yes, as most U.S. cities experienced higher summer temperatures in 2021 than in the past 50 years. And some of these places have the hottest summers in the nation.
Multiple cities in the South set new high temperature records this year, while the northern Plains and Midwest experienced a heat dome, bringing temperatures over 101 degrees to some locales. A heat dome traps heat over land, and last summer, such a phenomena was responsible for the unusually high temperatures that killed 112 people in Washington state.
To determine the 50 cities with the hottest summers, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed climate data from the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Cities were ranked based on the average summer temperature from 1991 to 2020 – the climate normal. We aggregated temperature and precipitation data from weather stations in the Global Historical Climatology Network. Only cities with at least 150,000 residents were considered. Population data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates.
Most U.S. cities with the hottest summers are in the South. Over 25% are in Texas, with Laredo hitting an average summer temperature of 88.3 degrees Fahrenheit, ranking as Texas’ highest ranking city on the list, at No. 7. Eight cities on the list are in Florida, while Alabama and Arizona are home to four cities each. There are also three cities in Nevada among those with the hottest summers, and these three rank among the top five hottest cities.
High temperatures don’t necessarily hamper large populations. The most populous city on the list is Houston at No. 13, with a total population over 2 million. Houston’s average summer temperature is 84.4°F. Houston’s year-round average temperature is 70.7°F. Other well-populated cities include San Antonio and Phoenix. (For average year-round temperatures in these cities see, the 50 warmest cities in America.)
Some of the hottest cities are also drier, with minimal rainfall. Four cities on the list have an average annual precipitation in the single digits — less than 10 inches a year. Three of these are in Nevada, a state that is experiencing severe drought with 2022 being the third driest in 128 years. (Here are the states with the worst drought.)
In fact, the city on the list with the lowest annual precipitation, 4.2 inches, also has the No. 1 hottest summer: Paradise, Nevada. Average summer temperatures in Paradise reach 90.8°F, but this scorching heat does not stop visitors. Within the boundaries of Paradise are some of the most well-known landmarks on the Las Vegas strip.
Click here to see the American cities with the hottest summer
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