The Best- and Worst- Columbus Summers on Record

Let’s be honest, Summer 2020 is hardly shaping up to be one of swimming pools and BBQs and beach vacations. With the virus continuing to rage nationally, it’s going to be the kind of summer most people watch from their porches or couches. So in that sense, 2020 certainly ranks up there as one of the worst summers ever. On the other hand, there’s probably going to be a bit less concern as to how the weather is. Still, here’s a look back on Columbus’ best and worst summers when it comes to weather.

I used a basic ranking system, much like I did with my Worst Winters of All Time post a few years back, to determine the severity of each summer’s weather. Here was the point system I used.

On temperature, I added one point for each of the following:
-# of 86 or Above Highs
-# of 70 or Above Lows
-# of 70 or Below Highs
-# of 50 or Below Lows
Each earned the summer a point for each day that featured these conditions, as either extreme heat or low temperatures during summer are generally considered a negative.

With precipitation, I added one point for each of the following:
-# of days with measurable precipitation.
-# of days with at least 1″+ of precipitation.

The more points a summer got, the worse the weather was overall.

Top 10 Worst Summers
1. 1935: 110
2. 1988: 108
3. 1949: 99
4. 1936, 1944, 1955: 97
5. 2012: 96
6. 1881, 1947, 1980, 1999, 2005: 94
7. 1901, 1916, 1931: 93
8. 1934, 1940, 2018: 91
9. 1941, 1977: 90
10. 1943, 1987: 88
If you like either very hot, very wet or summers with a combination of both conditions, these ones were for you.

Top 10 Best Summers
1. 1904: 43
2. 1967, 1971: 44
3. 1922, 1960, 1984: 47
4. 2000: 49
5. 1962: 50
6. 1950, 1981: 51
7. 1884, 1886, 1985: 52
8. 1889, 2009: 53
9. 1929: 56
10. 1905, 1976: 57
If you prefer, instead summers with little extreme heat and drier conditions, these were the best.

Now, you might wonder which decade had the best average and worst average summers.
1960s: 64.0
1900s: 66.2
1970s: 67.2
1920s: 67.8
1980s: 70.2
1880s: 70.9
1950s, 2000s: 71.2
1990s: 73.6
1890s: 75.1
1910s: 76.0
2010s: 78.7
1870s: 80.0
1930s: 81.9
1940s: 85.9
The 1960s had the best average score, with the 1940s easily claiming the top prize for worst.

To see a lot more summer records, check out: Summer Season Records

Cool Links of the Day: Housing and Carbon Footprints

First up is a link to a story on the growing housing crisis across Ohio, with a focus on the Columbus area.

The article uses an interesting metric to quantify just how bad the housing shortage is in counties across the state- the number of jobs versus the number of available housing units. In Columbus, there is only about 0.7 units per 1 job, leading to a Central Ohio shortage of more than 200,000 units!

Second, here is a link that gives the average annual carbon footprint of all US zip codes. In general, it seems that the most urban zip codes have the lowest footprints, along with far rural areas. The highest footprints seem to be in suburban and exurban areas. In the Columbus area, the zip code with the highest carbon footprint is 43021, which contains much of Westerville. Second highest is 43054, which contains New Albany. Take a look at the interactive maps here:

Cool Link of the Day: Transportation Climate Impact Index

This link measures how the 100 largest US metros rank in terms of climate impact from everything from walkability to vehicles miles.

Ohio cities don’t rank highly, unfortunately. Columbus clocks in at #85, with its worst ranking coming from how much its residents drive. Columbus’ bus system only goes so far, and without any other form of transit, much of the area is completely car-dependent.

Streetlight, which makes the rankings, gives an explanation on the methodology here: