AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin is holding steady at 68 triple-digit days for the year after an incredibly hot June, July and first half of August.
Our first triple-digit day actually occurred on May 21, the fourth earliest triple-digit day in Austin’s history.
In our First Warning Weather Team 100º day contest, Sean Kelly is sitting in first place with a guess of 69 triple-digit days for 2022 and I’m in a close second at 65.
The second half of August brought needed rain, more clouds, and wetter soil which all resulted in lower temperatures.
Our last triple-digit day this year was Aug. 20, meaning we’re now enjoying our longest stretch of days without triple-digit heat at Austin’s Camp Mabry since early June…when the unwavering heat really began.
Our recent switch to a wetter and cooler pattern may have you asking…are we done with triple-digit heat this year?
Let’s dig into that…
Typical end of triple digit heat
An average September has three triple-digit days and so far this year we’ve had none. Roughly 7% of the triple-digit days since 1898 have happened after Sept. 1.
But, looking at the 30-year average from 1991-2020 the average final triple-digit day of the year is Aug. 30.
The latest ever triple-digit day in Austin record was on Oct. 2, 1938.
Recent triple-digit history
As Austin’s climate warms, over the last five years we’ve been accustomed to more triple-digit heat in September. Last year alone had more triple-digit days in September than in any other month (7 days).
Here’s when we’ve hit our last triple-digit day during the last 5 years:
Outlook for THIS September
The Climate Prediction Center recently updated its September outlook for Central Texas pointing to good odds on a wetter and cooler than average month. While that doesn’t preclude some periods of heat, our wetter soils will be harder to heat up.
What would it take to bring back triple digits?
Two scenarios seem to be our best chance at more triple digits this month: strong high-pressure overhead or a strong tropical storm or hurricane passing to our east pulling in hot dry air from the north into Central Texas.
We’re not currently seeing signs of a building ridge overhead anytime soon, but it’s hard to rule out tropical activity throwing a wrench in the forecast.
It appears unlikely that the wetter soils, wetter and cooler pattern and typical climatology would favor more triple-digit heat this year. Even last year’s seven days of triple digits in September came after a much drier second half of August than we experienced. The wetter ground this time around, with more rain in the near-term forecast, should prevent 100º+ heat from returning, but a strong tropical system east of us may be our best chance of bringing back triple digits.