august temperatures ncdcNice late summer day, don't you think? Enjoy the warm, sunny goodness while you can because tomorrow is going to be decidedly less sunny, and a bit cooler. A cold front that currently stretches from Lake Superior, down to the Gulf Coast, and west to Arizona, is going to sweep through town tomorrow night. Ahead of that front we can expect showers and perhaps a thunderstorm, starting around daybreak tomorrow. The front is moving fast and the showers should be gone by the time we wake up on Wednesday. Once the front passes by, the sun will return but the warmth will not. Highs on Wednesday and Thursday will struggle to make 70. The first weekend of fall looks to be slightly warmer.

Let's worry about fall when it gets here on Friday. This past summer, defined as June, July and August, was slightly warmer than normal around these parts. Across the country, the past summer was the warmest since the brutal Dust Bowl year of 1936, and the second warmest summer on record in the United States. But, wait, there's more! The hot summer, along with a warm winter and spring, has made the first eight months of 2006 the warmest January-August period in the lower 48 states since national records began in 1895. Across the globe, last month was the fourth warmest August, third warmest Northern Hemisphere summer, and sixth warmest January-August since reliable global records began in 1880. Two more tidbits: At the end of August, forty percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions, and we are on pace to break the record for acres burned by wildfires in one year. Exciting times! We should say that Gothamist doesn't have these numbers memorized, we found them at the National Climatic Data Center. Finally, to make things interesting for the next few months a weak El Niño has appeared.

August 2006 global temperature anomalies (red=warm, blue=cold) from the National Climatic Data Center.