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



Summer 2016



Now that Summer 2016 is but a memory, let’s take a quick look back at where it stands in the record books.

Temperature

Summer 2016 Means
June-August Mean High: 85.5
June-August Mean Rank since 1878: 26th Warmest
While the average high for Summer 2016 was certainly warm, it fell just outside of the top 25. By comparison to recent years, 2010 (85.6), 2011 (85.7) and 2012 (87.7) all had warmer average highs.

June-August Mean Low: 66.1
June-August Mean Low Rank since 1878: 4th Warmest
The average low for the summer is what made 2016 much more exceptional. No recent years (last decade) were warmer, although 2010 did tie.

June-August Mean: 75.8
June-August Mean Rank since 1878: 10th
So if you thought this summer was hot, well you were right. Only 2010 (75.9) and 2012 (76.4) were warmer of any recent years.

Monthly Means
June Mean: 73.2
June Mean Rank since 1878: 17th Warmest
July Mean: 76.6
July Mean Rank since 1878: 20th Warmest
August Mean: 77.6
August Mean Rank since 1878: 6th Warmest
The summer gradually became hotter as it went on.

Summer 2016 Misc. Temperature Stats
# of 90+ Days: 18
90+ Days Rank: 22nd
Warmest High: 95
Warmest Low: 77
Coldest High: 72
Coldest Low: 48

Daily Temperature Records
June 11th: Record Warm Maximum Tie: 95: Tied with 1914 and 1933.
August 10th: Record Warm Minimum Tie: 75: Tied with 2001.
August 11th: Record Warm Minimum Tie: 76: Tied with 1918.
August 12th: Record Warm Minimum: 76: Beat record from 1947.
August 13th: Record Warm Minimum Tie: 75: Tied with 1995.

Precipitation
June-July Precipitation Total: 13.53″
June-July Precipitation Rank since 1878: 29th Wettest
Besides being warm, Summer 2016 was also fairly wet.

Monthly Precipitation Stats
June Precipitation: 5.22″
June Precipitation Rank since 1878: 29th
July Precipitation: 2.49″
July Precipitation Rank since 1878: 27th Driest
August Precipitation: 5.82″
August Precipitation Rank since 1878: 13th Wettest
So the summer was bookended by wet months with July being fairly dry.

Summer 2016 Misc. Precipitation Stats
Total Precipitation Days (including Trace): 45
Total Measurable Precipitation Days: 30
Measurable Precipitation Days Rank since 1878: 16th Highest
Days with 0.25″ or Higher: 16
Days with 0.50″ or Higher: 10
Days with 1.00″ or Higher: 4

Daily Precipitation Records
June 23rd: 2.75″: Beat the old record in 1901.

Summer of Rain 2015

This summer has been wet… very wet. Rain has fallen on far more days than not, and cloud cover has hung thick and heavy in what are historically much sunnier months. To top it all off, temperatures have been somewhat below normal.

How wet has summer 2015 been up through today? Meteorological summer runs June 1st-August 31st, and today makes the midpoint of that period, so I thought it would be a good time to check in and answer that question.

Here are the top 10 wettest summers through yesterday.
1. 1958: 12.54″
2. 2008: 11.68″
3. 1990: 10.93″
4. 2015: 10.66″
5. 1949: 10.40″
6. 1973: 10.23″
7. 1917: 10.06″
8. 1928: 10.02″
9. 1937: 9.75″
10. 1969: 9.38″

So 2015 is running the 4th wettest. It looks to be dry the next few days before more thunderstorms and rain return, so 2015′s position may end up rising.

What are the wettest full summers of all time? A few of the above years went on to be in the top 10, but not all.
1. 1958: 22.02″
2. 1979: 20.92″
3. 1995: 19.85″
4. 2003: 19.39″
5. 1969: 19.09″
6. 1915: 18.92″
7. 1992: 18.44″
8. 1973: 17.81″
9. 1989: 17.45″
10. 1949: 16.54″

Summer 2015 needs about 6″ more to reach into the top 10 wettest summers, which at the current pace is more than possible.