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



Independence Day Climatology





Top 10 Coldest July 4th Highs
1. 1882, 1922: 69
2. 1924, 1967, 1978, 2008: 71
3. 1909, 1927, 1972, 1979, 2016: 72
4. 1920: 73
5. 1937, 1989: 74
6. 1892, 1910, 1940, 1941, 1960, 1997, 2009: 76
7. 1917, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1976, 2013: 77
8. 1891, 1961, 2014: 78
9. 1889, 1933, 1996, 2001, 2015: 79
10. 1898, 1906, 1926, 1938, 1962, 1992; 80

Top 10 Warmest July 4th Highs
1. 1911: 104
2. 1897: 102
3. 2012: 100
4. 1919: 97
5. 1900, 1921, 1949, 2002: 96
6. 1990, 1999: 95
7. 1903, 1948: 94
8. 1881, 1883, 1899, 1918, 1958, 1988, 2018: 93
9. 1913, 1993, 2003: 92
10. 1880, 1901, 1902, 1931, 1944, 1974, 2010: 91

Top 10 Coldest July 4th Lows
1. 1968: 47
2. 1963: 49
3. 1996: 50
4. 1986: 51
5. 1927, 1940: 52
6. 1960, 1961, 1965, 1972: 53
7. 1892, 1909, 1924, 1930, 1979: 54
8. 1895, 1907: 55
9. 1891, 1915, 1922, 1976, 1992: 56
10. 1953, 1964, 1967, 1988, 2014: 57

Top 10 Warmest July 4th Lows
1. 1911: 79
2. 1897, 1900, 1999: 75
3. 1879, 1921: 74
4. 1883, 1902, 2012, 2018: 73
5. 1899, 1919, 1991, 2002, 2004; 72
6. 1884, 1903, 1913, 1943, 1974, 2005, 2013: 71
7. 1888, 1896, 1901, 1980, 2003, 2011: 70
8. 1878, 1905, 1908, 1935, 1949, 1957, 1966, 1983, 1987, 2000, 2006: 69
9. 1881, 1887, 1894, 1936, 1954, 1973, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995: 68
10. 1912, 1928, 1934, 1939, 1952, 1956, 1969, 1975, 1998, 2017: 67

Top 10 Wettest July 4ths
1. 1984: 1.38″
2. 1935: 1.04″
3. 1915: 0.86″
4. 1932: 0.84″
5. 1957: 0.66″
6. 2008: 0.61″
7. 1939: 0.60″
8. 2003: 0.59″
9. 1926: 0.58″
10. 2006: 0.56″




City of Columbus Annual Report: 1858-1859



159 years ago, Columbus released its first (as far as I could find) annual report detailing all sorts of information on the state of the city. These reports were issued well into the 1980s, and while the first included mostly dry financial information such as tax receipts and expenditures, as the years passed, they would grow to include everything from annexation numbers to weather statistics and crime data. I will occasionally write about some of the more interesting highlights of these historic documents on the city’s past.

Let’s look at some highlights from the report. First up, Columbus’ finances.

Certainly much has changed in the city’s expenditures, with a budget that now exceeds $1 billion a year.

Next up is a plea from then City Clerk Joseph Dowdall about the need to protect the city’s records.

Dowdall would be the City Clerk through 1861. He would show up in the Columbus records through the early 1880s, when in 1880 he gained a permit to build a 2-story brick addition to a home.

City leaders were paid a *little* less per year than they are now. Interesting that the mayor earned the lowest amount of all. Even with inflation over the years, the $400 salary would only have been about $11,300 in 2017. Clearly public service back then was not a lucrative proposition.

Only 7 years after the land was donated to the city, Goodale Park was still being surveyed.

The now infamous North Graveyard received a few repairs that year. North Graveyard was once on the northern fringes of Downtown, where North Market would eventually rise. Sometime after the graveyard was “moved” in 1872, its original location was all but forgotten. In the early 2000s, utility work at North Market made a grisly discovery not so dissimilar to the Poltergeist movie- bodies. It seems that in the hasty movement of the cemetery, through outright intent, neglect or lost records, many bodies had simply never been moved at all. There has long been the belief that many more remains are still in the ground under the area. The upcoming Market Tower project has a good chance of finding at least some of them.

So there you have it, an early look into Columbus’ financial history.