How hot was it on July 8, 2002?
The answer to that and other questions about local temperature and weather conditions on any day in the past decade is now being provided by an Augusta Chronicle database.
Using data gathered through a state program, which is now in danger of being eliminated because of money shortages, The Chronicle has built a database of daily local weather temperatures and rainfall since 2000. The database will be updated weekly.
The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia created a system of weather stations 20 years ago and has kept up the Web site, georgiaweather.net, that provides in-depth weather information through 81 weather stations.
The data collected at the Dearing weather station were selected for The Chronicle’s analysis and database because it is the closest station in an area most like Augusta. By going online, readers can see for themselves how temperatures and rainfalls compare on a daily, monthly or yearly basis.
The Chronicle’s analysis found that so far in 2011, local residents sweltered in temperatures at or above 100 degrees on nine days. Only 2007 had more 100-degree days, 10.
The area hit 100 degrees early in the year, by June 21, which was the second earliest recorded. The highest minimum temperature recorded this year was 79 degrees on Aug. 4.
This year had more days with temperatures in the 90s or higher than any year in the past decade, 114 days.
Since 2000, the total days with temperatures over 90 fluctuated up and down, but the years with the most days of 90-plus temperatures was 2011, and 2010 with 104 days.
The number of days in a year when the minimum temperature was equal to or below freezing, 32 degrees, has been 28 so far this year – the least number of such days recorded since 2000.
If this year seemed dryer than normal even for drought conditions, at the Dearing station it certainly has been. Only 23.83 inches of rain has been recorded so far this year.
The most rainfall, 61.33 inches, was recorded in 2009.
This year had the fewest number of days where the total amount of rainfall equaled one inch or more – 14 days. In 2010, the total number was 29 days.
Those in Georgia’s agribusiness – the state’s top industry – find the georgiaweather.net site crucial, according to the university’s Extension Service county agents.
The Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network functions on an estimated $300,000 a year. If funding isn’t restored, the daily information and the historic data will be lost.
Now the network is operating on a month-to-month basis, E. Dale Threadgill – the director of engineering faculty and head of the biological and agricultural engineering department at the university – wrote in an e-mail. “We have received no commitment for long-term funding.”
By the way, the high on July 8, 2002 was 93.