Discussion: An anticipated below normal U.S. electricity demand for summer 2020 due to the effects of Covid-19 on U.S. industry did not materialize as demand exceeded expectations due to the anomalous heat. U.S. meteorological summer 2020 ranked 4th hottest in the 126-year climatology. Arizona and all of southern New England observed the hottest JUN/JUL/AUG on record (Fig. 1). Only Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas observed near normal summertime heat with all other states hotter than normal.
Given the anomalous searing heat not surprising is the drier-than-normal national climate during meteorological summer 2020 (Fig. 2). Nationally, the U.S. ranked 33rd driest in the 126-year climatology. The Southwest U.S. drought intensified due to record dryness in Arizona and all-time to 3% to 10% driest summer climate from California to Colorado to New Mexico. New England was also very dry and a late summer flash drought occurred in Iowa.
August 2020 was record hot across the entire southwest quadrant of the U.S. including California (Fig. 3). Most of the West including Texas was in the top 7-8% all-time hottest to finish meteorological summer. The anomalous heat across the Southwest States was fueled by the widespread western US. Drought. The driest August on record was observed in Arizona, Utah and Nebraska (Fig. 4). The Interior to Midwest U.S. was extremely dry in August. Exceptionally wet weather occurred in August across Arkansas and the Mid-Atlantic States.
The Climate Impact Company JUN/JUL/AUG 2020 temperature anomaly forecast featured widespread anomalous warmth for the U.S. and verified quite well (Fig. 5-6). The meteorological summer precipitation anomaly forecast was too wet in the Central U.S. and not sufficiently dry in the East (Fig. 7-8).
Fig. 1: NOAA state temperature rankings for summer 2020.
Fig. 2: NOAA state precipitation rankings for summer 2020.
Fig. 3: NOAA state temperature rankings for August 2020.
Fig. 4: NOAA state precipitation rankings for August 2020.
Fig. 5-6: The Climate Impact Company temperature anomaly forecast for meteorological summer 2020 compared to verification.
Fig. 7-8: The Climate Impact Company precipitation anomaly forecast for meteorological summer 2020 compared to verification.