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Record Christmas was fitting end to hottest year yet


Record Christmas was fitting end to hottest year yet

With record-breaking hot Halloween temperatures followed by a pre-Thanksgiving heat wave, Christmas 2016 was not to be left out in the, er, um, well . . .  cold this year.

So, fittingly, this past Christmas was the hottest ever in Middle Tennessee.

The temperature in Franklin reached 76 degrees on Christmas Day, breaking the 127-year old previous high of 73 in 1889, according to Weather Underground historical data.

In case you were wondering, the coldest Christmas ever here was 1983, when it dropped to 5 below zero.

The recent Christmastime high wasn’t actually that unusual, as in the past 20 years, December has had back-to-back 70-degree days nine times.

But the mid-70s would feel downright chilly compared to the summer Middle Tennessee experienced.

Really, it was not so memorable for its extreme highs, like in July of 2012 when three consecutive days reached nearly 110 degrees, but for its relentless day-in, day-out heat.

With the mercury rising above 90 on nearly 90 days between May and September, it was in fact the hottest summer ever recorded in Middle Tennessee.

From the beginning of June to the end of August, 65 out of 92 days got above 90.

July was the hottest month, when the temperature hit at least 90 on 24 of 31 days.

July daily temperatures and weather graphs

June and and August temperatures were nothing to sneeze, at, however. The red needle pointed past 90 on 19 days in June and 22 days in August. May, the mixed-breed puppy of summer and spring, only had 5 such days.

Of course the summer was followed by an early Fall, in which September and October temperatures were much more like the average summer.

September,  with 16 90-degree days, had a streak between the 4th and 25th when only six days missed 90 — and it got above 89 on three of those days. The high temperatures were remarkable coming in a month that the high temperature historically drops down to the mid-to-high 70s by its end.

October in Middle Tennessee was just a little bit colder than an average September. Historically, October daily temperature highs start at 77 and drop to 66 by Halloween. But this past October brought an average daily high of 80.6 degrees.

Not to mention five days in October broke record highs, including a record-high on Halloween. The hottest day, the last 90-degree day of the year, came when it hit 91.1 on October 19. Crazy, considering it should have been 70.

November started off just as off the charts, with three consecutive days in the mid-and-high 80s. A record high of 88 was set on November 1. The temperature went down to normal after that, with highs staying in the range of 59 to 62 degrees, which is the average for the early month.

But just before Thanksgiving the temperature spiked again. From November 16 to 19 it reached 80 degrees twice, and was in the high 70s.

December was much more in line with historic average temperatures. Until the week before Christmas there were even two stretches, from the 7th to the 10th and the 12th to the 14th that were below the average. Highs in December steadily drop from about 50 degrees Fahrenheit down to about 45 at the end of the month.

December daily temperatures and weather graphs

The heat wave that affected Christmas began on the 23rd and lasted through the 26th.

In fact, 2016 was the hottest year ever on record worldwide, breaking the record set in 2015.

And now not even two weeks into 2017, we are experiencing the first above-average temperatures.

The high for Wednesday was 63 degrees, high but still below the record of 72 set in 1890 after the previous Christmas high of 1889.

Of course that is still nearly 50 percent hotter than the historic average high temperature for Middle Tennessee this time of year of 46 degrees.

About The Author

Corey is one of the Co-Owners of BIGR Media, as well as the company's CTO and CCO.

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