• No matter what the measuring stick, 2011 produced one of the hottest summers in Georgia's history.
The summer of 2011 was one of the hottest on record for Georgia.
Atmospheric scientists, climatologists and meteorologists define summer as the months of June, July and August.
Based on the average mean temperature, Alma, Athens, Augusta, Columbus and Savannah, as well as Tallahassee, Fla., all experienced the hottest summer on record.
Atmospheric scientists define the “mean” temperature as high temperature, plus the low temperature for a day divided by two. For example, if the high temperature was 90 F and the low temperature was 70 F, the mean temperature for a day would be 80 F.
The “average mean temperature” is simply the average of the daily mean temperatures for a period of time.
The second hottest summer on record was experienced in Macon and Chattanooga, Tenn., while Atlanta experienced the third-warmest summer.
Other than the average mean temperature, average high temperature or the average low temperature can also be used to gauge the heat of summertime.
Temperatures and rainfall rankings for Georgia and its border cities with at least 60 years of climatological data shows that all locations were ranked in the top three summers for temperature using average mean or average high temperatures.
Precipitation rankings ranged from the driest on record at Tallahassee to the 26th driest at Columbus.
The following data analysis is based on preliminary data. Results may change slightly as the data is checked for accuracy.
For Alma, with 63 years of data, 2011 was the warmest summer on record, with an average mean temperature of 84 F (3.2 F above average). The previous record was 83.1 F set in 2010.
Based on the average high temperature, it was also the warmest summer on record with an average high temperature of 96.2 F (5 F above average), breaking the previous record of 95.1 F set in 1954.
The summer rainfall for Alma was 12.18 inches (4.82 inches below average), making it the 11th driest summer on record.