2017: Record Warmth and Near Normal Precipitation Across Delaware

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Figure 1. Delaware statewide mean annual temperature (°F) 1895-2017. Light gray line indicates 1981-2010 normal.
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Figure 2. Delaware 2017 monthly temperature anomalies.
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Figure 3. Delaware statewide annual precipitation (inches) 1895-2017. Gray line indicates 1981-2010 normal.
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Figure 4. Delaware 2017 monthly precipitation anomalies.

Annual Temperatures

Statewide mean annual temperature in 2017 was 57.8°F according to preliminary data from the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI). This was 2.4°F above the 1981-2010 normal of 55.4°F (Figure 1) and was the 2nd warmest year in Delaware since 1895. Only 2012 has been warmer. Eight months of the year experienced above normal temperatures (Figure 2), including the warmest February and April on record, and the 2nd warmest October since 1895.

Annual Precipitation

Statewide precipitation in 2017 averaged 44.57 inches, 0.24 inches above the 1981-2010 mean of 44.33 inches (Figure 3). Monthly precipitation anomalies varied between positive and negative throughout the year, with seven months of below normal and five months of above normal precipitation (Figure 4). During 2017 we experienced the 8th wettest July, the 13th wettest August and the 5th driest December since records began in 1895.

Statewide Spatial Averages

According to data from the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS; deos.udel.edu), mean annual temperatures were above normal across most of the State, with just a few stations recording near or slightly below normal readings for the year. (Figure 5). Northern New Castle County and Chester County, PA, along with central Sussex and southern Kent counties had the largest positive temperature departures in 2017.

Precipitation across the region varied dramatically in 2017 (Figure 6). The majority of Kent and Sussex counties saw near normal precipitation, while portions of northern New Castle County and Chester County, PA saw 4 – 10 inch precipitation deficits.

2017 mean annual temperature departures (°F) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
Figure 5. 2017 mean annual temperature departures (°F) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
2017 annual precipitation departures (inches) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.
Figure 6. 2017 annual precipitation departures (inches) from the 1981-2010 mean based upon DEOS station data.

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