NWS: Summer 2023 hottest on record for South Mississippi
All-time record high temperatures smashed
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The National Weather Service (NWS) Office out of New Orleans says Summer 2023 was the hottest on record for South Mississippi. The three-month average temperature for June-August at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, the official NOAA climate site for the Mississippi Coast, was 85.9 degrees. This narrowly breaks the old record of 85.8 degrees set back in the summer of 2010.
In addition to being the warmest summer on record, the National Weather Service says the month of August 2023 alone was the hottest month, for any month, on record with an average temperature of 88.6 degrees.
Numerous other records were set this summer, including the all-time hottest temperature on August 26 of 107 degrees, smashing the old all-time record of 104 by 3 degrees. The scorching heat neared all-time record levels again the following day, August 27, at 104 degrees. According to official National Weather Service weather records that date back to 1893, the hottest temperature ever recorded prior to Summer 2023 was 104 degrees. This was reached on three separate occasions. First, on August 23, 1924. Second, on August 5, 1947. Third, on August 30, 1951.
For weather record keeping, the period between June 1 - August 31 is considered meteorological summer. Weather records are considered preliminary until a final review from NOAA.
Additional Summer 2023 records for Gulfport-Biloxi International according to NWS New Orleans:
Summer 2023 will be remembered for how persistent the heat was across the Gulf Coast. Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport observed 20 days in a row of high temperatures of 95 degrees or hotter from July 27 through August 15. The most on record. The old record was 13, set back in 1980.
Gulfport-Biloxi has observed eight days of 100-degree temperatures or hotter so far this year. This is the second-highest on record for a single year. In most years, this only happens once or not at all. The most was 9 back in 1980.
- Second warmest July on record. The average temperature of 85.7 comes in shy of the record 86.1 set in 2010.
- 10th warmest June on record. The average temperature of 83.1 comes in shy of the record 84.8 set in 2010.
- All-time warmest day by average temperature. August 26 recorded an average temperature of 93.0 degrees. The previous record was 92.5 degrees set on August 2, 2010.
- 26 days (Jun-Aug) with a low temperature at or above 80 degrees breaks the previous record of 20 set in 2010.
- 12 days (Jun-Aug) with daily record high temperatures. All but 1 occurred in August.
- 26 days (Jun-Aug) with daily record warm low temperatures. 17 of them occurred in August
Summer 2023 records for Moss Point Trent Lott International Airport according to NWS New Orleans:
While weather records only date back to 1997, this summer was record-breaking for Moss Point at Trent Lott International Airport where weather records are kept in Jackson County.
According to NWS New Orleans, Moss Point recorded its all-time hottest temperature ever, at 106 degrees on August 26. The previous all-time hottest temperature was 103 degrees, set back in July 2019. The next day, Moss Point recorded its second all-time hottest temperature at 105 degrees.
The following records were set:
- Warmest summer on record. The average temperature of 84.6 breaks the previous record of 83.3 set in 2020.
- Warmest month on record. August recorded an average temperature of 87.2 breaking the previous record of 85.1 set in July 2023. Prior to 2023, the warmest month on record was August 2020 with an average temperature of 84.6.
- Warmest August on record. The average temperature of 87.2 breaks the previous record of 84.6 degrees set in 2020.
- Warmest July on record. The average temperature of 85.1 breaks the previous record of 83.8 set in 2020.
- 7th warmest June on record. The average temperature of 81.4 comes in shy of the record 83.6 set in 2022.
- The all-time warmest minimum temperature was set on August 10 with a minimum temperature of 84 degrees. This breaks the previous record of 83 set on July 14, 2019.
- All-time warmest day by average temperature. August 8, 10 and 27 recorded an average temperature of 90.5 degrees. Prior to this summer, the warmest day on record by average temperature was 89 degrees most recently set on August 2, 2010. There were also an additional 11 days with an average temperature of 89 degrees or higher.
- 11 days (Jun-Aug) with a high temperature at or above 100 degrees breaks the previous record of 5 set in 2019.
- 11 days (Jun-Aug) with a low temperature at or above 80 degrees breaks the previous record of 4, most recently set in 2020.
- 32 days (Jun-Aug) with daily record high temperatures. 24 of them occurred in August.
- 20 days (Jun-Aug) with daily record warm low temperatures. 13 of them occurred in August.
Also of note, WLOX-TV in Biloxi, a weather observer for the National Weather Service, recorded a high temperature of 104 degrees. This, compared to Biloxi records, ties the all-time hottest temperature of 104 degrees observed on August 29, 2000, and three other times on August 23, 1924; August 5, 1947; and August 30, 1951.
What made it so hot?
The extreme heat has been a result of a persistent upper-level ridge of high pressure that has dominated the southern United States. Sinking air associated with the high pressure compresses, warms, and keeps clouds, showers, and storms from forming. The result is oppressive heat.
Since records began in 1893, the air temperature at Gulfport-Biloxi has only reached 100 degrees or hotter 96 times. Reaching temperatures this hot is difficult south of I-10 due to the proximity to the Mississippi Sound, daily sea breeze, high dew points, and daily afternoon pop-up storms that keep average summertime high temperatures around 91 degrees.
Hottest Days on Record: Aug 26-27
In addition to the persistent upper-level high pressure ridge, some smaller scale meteorological features made for August 26-27 to be exceptionally hot. There was no sea breeze and lower dewpoints in the region. The winds were predominantly from the north, keeping the slightly cooler air from the Mississippi Sound from penetrating inland like it typically does each summer afternoon. The slightly drier air also allowed temps to heat up more due to less moisture content.
At around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Aug 26, every reporting weather station in the six southern counties of South Mississippi reported air temperatures at or above 100 degrees.
This latest round of intense heat comes as parts of South Mississippi are experiencing an intensifying drought and dangerous fire conditions. Burn bans are in effect for all of South Mississippi until further notice. Gulfport-Biloxi is over 20 inches below normal in rainfall for the year. National Weather Service records indicate summer 2023 was the fourth driest on record for Gulfport-Biloxi and August 2023 was the second driest August on record.
Why is Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport the official climate site?
Weather observations at Gulfport-Biloxi began on October 1, 1998. Through a project called ThreadEx, those observations are compared with observations taken at nearby sites that have been discontinued and no longer exist. This includes observations from the Gulfport Naval Center from June 30, 1956, to September 30, 1998. To provide a longer period of record, they are also compared with observations from nearby Biloxi from June 1, 1893 to June 29, 1956.
According to the National Weather Service, “ThreadEx, which stands for Threaded Extremes, takes the maximum and minimum temperature, and the daily total precipitation recorded at National Weather Service Automated Surface Observing Stations (ASOS) and pieces it together with other historical data nearby to create a single, long-term set of daily weather information dating back well over a hundred years.”
In addition, “There are often changes in the siting of instrumentation for any given National Weather Service/Weather Bureau location over the observational history in a given city/region. As a result, obtaining a long time series (i.e., one hundred years or more) for computation of extremes is difficult, unless records from the various locations are “threaded” or put together.”
While not an official climate site, WLOX is a participant in the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program. Observations taken at WLOX are compared with old records taken from previous nearby sites in Biloxi that date back to 1893.
Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point is not considered an official climate site because it does not have the required 30 years or more of weather observations. However, with weather observations dating back to 1997, it is the most comprehensive set of weather observations in Jackson County and we often report these records to provide more context.
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