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2020: Warmest, Wettest Year on Record for Some

The year 2020 will be remembered for many things.  In the realm of meteorology, it will be remembered as a record-breaking year for different types of weather.  For several cities in the eastern United States, 2020 was the warmest year on record.  It was also wettest year on record for others.

The Sunshine State is widely known as a warm-weather getaway.  However, even typically warm Florida was setting yearly temperature records in 2020.  Four cities in the southern part of the state witnessed their warmest year on record.

This climatological statistic is determined by averaging the high temperature and low temperature of each of the 366 days (2020 was a Leap Year).

Records date back to 1888 in West Palm Beach, 1895 in Miami, 1913 in Fort Lauderdale, and 1942 in Naples.  The previous warmest years on record in these cities occurred several times between 2015 and 2019, showing just how warm it has been over the last decade.

The lone temperature record in the Northeast occurred in the country’s largest city, New York City.  At the Central Park climate site—where weather observations have been tracked since 1869—the yearly average temperature of 57.3 degrees tied the record initially set in 2012.  2020 and 2012 are officially the warmest years on record in the Big Apple.

Temperatures were not the only noteworthy statistic in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  In 2020, two cities experienced their wettest year on record.  These climate extremes occurred in the southwestern part of the state.  The city of Lynchburg picked up nearly 70 inches of rain, surpassing 2018 as the wettest on record.  It was also 0.1 degree shy of their warmest year on record.

Things played out similarly in the city of Roanoke, which saw nearly 63 inches of rain and beat the previous record from 2018.  Roanoke also tied 2012 and 2019 for the warmest hear on record, with an average temperature of 59.5 degrees.

Heavy rainfall led to a record total for the year in Crossville, Tennessee.  In the rain gauge, a total of 75.32 inches of precipitation was observed.  That is over 6 feet of rain!  Records have been kept in this city east of Nashville since 1954.

While many cities in the eastern United States experienced record precipitation and record temperatures in 2020, the central and western United States did not see any yearly records in these categories.  It should be noted, however, that widespread drought and record fire weather was observed there in 2020.

Be sure to join WeatherNation for any and all extreme and record-breaking weather that may come your way in the year 2021.

For WeatherNation, I’m meteorologist Joe Astolfi.

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