ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia’s climatologist’s office said June was one of the hottest on record in various Georgia cities, and the warmest ever recorded in Columbus.
Assistant climatologist Pam Knox said Friday the average temperature for the month in Columbus was 84.4 degrees, 5.2 degrees above normal for June and the highest for the 64 Junes for which records have been kept for the West Georgia city.
Chattanooga also recorded higher than normal temperatures, with thermometers climbing to 80 on the average day — a full 4.6 degrees above normal.
“It wasn’t outrageously abnormal,” said WRCB Channel 3 Meteorologist Paul Barys.
A ridge of high pressure has sat above the country, mostly cooking the Midwest and Southwest, Barys explained. But when that system rolled to the east, Chattanooga spent some time under the magnifying glass.
“The ridge of high pressure is like a bubble and it’s just moving back and fourth,” he said. “As far as next month coming up, we’ll probably have above-normal temperatures.”
Barys expects highs in the upper 90s in July, once again above normal.
Across Georgia, a few cities just missed setting records for June. Macon averaged 82.9 degrees, 4.9 degrees above normal and the second-highest average for the 119 years records have been kept there. Atlanta was at 81.2 degrees, 4.4 degrees above normal and third in 133 years of record-keeping.
Knox said Atlanta’s high for June was set in 1952, at 82.3 degrees, while 2010 was second at 81.4.
Stooksbury said the continued drought helped keep the average down by allowing temperatures to fall a little more at night.
“When it’s dry, you’re able to have a greater range between highs and lows,” he said.
Chattanooga is right on the edge of the drought area, keeping the high/low range a bit more steady.
Savannah’s average was 83 degrees, 4.2 degrees above normal and sixth in 141 years of record-keeping and Augusta’s was 82.4, 4.6 degrees above normal and eighth all-time. Athens averaged 81, 4.7 degrees above normal and eighth on its 155-year list.
Knox said rainfall was below normal for most of the state except Savannah in June.
In the tri-state area, rainfall was essentially normal, coming on only a tiny fraction of an inch below the average.
Stooksbury said he expects hot, dry weather to continue, except for Georgia’s mountain areas, into August, when tropical systems could affect temperatures and moisture.
Staff writer Carey O’Neil and The Associated Press contributed to this story.