Scientists who track weather trends in the Augusta area say 2012 was an extreme year.
“Not only were there several periods of record warm temperatures, but also some periods of record cold temperatures,” said meteorologist Leonard Vaughan of the National Weather Service regional office in West Columbia, S.C., which tracks and manages Augusta-area climate data.
According to a summary released Tuesday, 2012 included an all-time record high temperature for South Carolina – 113 degrees on June 29 – and an average annual temperature that tied 1990 for the warmest year in Columbia.
There were also a record number of consecutive days with a high temperature of 80 degrees or more in Augusta and Columbia, he said. The 11-day period ran from March 14 to March 24 and broke previous records that included eight consecutive days in Augusta in 1898.
On July 1, new daily high record temperatures were set in Augusta (104 degrees) and in Columbia (106 degrees), which led to a series of severe thunderstorms that afternoon and evening.
Here are some of the other 2012 extremes and records related to Augusta:
• February was the 10th driest on record, with just 1.12 inches of rain, compared with a normal of 3.92 inches.
• Winter – December 2011 to February 2012 – was the third driest on record, with 3.8 inches of rain compared with a normal of 11.22 inches.
• March was the fourth warmest on record, with an average temperature of 64 degrees, which is 8.1 degrees above the normal of 55.9 degrees.
• June was the seventh coolest on record, but occurring within a month were record highs during a heat wave June 28-30. The average monthly temperature was 74.7 degrees, or 3.9 degrees below the normal of 78.6.
• July was the sixth driest on record, tied with 2004, with just 1.54 inches of rain, or 2.79 inches below normal.
• August was the second wettest on record, with a 12.28 inches of rain, or 7.96 inches above normal. That one month accounted for 34 percent of rainfall for the entire year.
• November was the 10th coolest on record, with an average temperature of 50.9, or 4.3 degrees below the normal of 55.2 degrees.