The heat wave that began at the end of June broke records all across the Southeast, but two might have been more significant than the rest.
According to NOAA’s monthly State of the Climate report, temperatures recorded in Georgia and South Carolina might have tied or broken the all-time records for heat in those states.
U.S. State Climate Extremes Committees will now convene in both states to examine the evidence collected during the times the highest temperatures registered.
The committees, composed of five members of the top meteorologists both locally and nationally, will examine data and the sites of the recordings, accuracy of equipment and more, then vote on a motion to leave or update the statewide records.
Deke Arndt, chief of the National Climatic Data Center’s climate monitoring branch, said the process is essentially a trial for the potential record to thoroughly test the validity of the readings before declaring the existing records tied or broken.
“There’s always some excitement and general curiosity that an extreme weather event brings,” Arndt said. “But what’s most rewarding is that you always learn a lot of local meteorology, and you deal with regional experts who can tell you incredible things about the local climate.”
Meteorologists are also excited about the nature of the record. If Arndt and others on the committee uphold the readings in either state, the experts, who have most recently investigated record rainfall, snowfall volume and hailstone size, will alter a statewide record for extreme heat for the first time since the committees were created in 2006.
Another member of the state’s committee, Georgia’s State Climatologist, Bill Murphey, said he doesn’t think the state’s record was broken, though.
Murphey said they were still examining evidence and going through a verification process, but Georgia’s recent reading of 112 degrees Fahrenheit, even if it stands up against committee scrutiny, will only tie a statewide record that has been reached twice before, in 1983 and in 1952.
Murphey was optimistic about one thing, though. He said the state was looking forward to a cooling cycle and a wet cycle in the next week.