First six months of 2012 warmest and driest in Last 118 Years

statewide temperature summary graph
Figure 1. Delaware statewide Jan - Jun temperature from 1895-96 through 2011-2012.

Preliminary data from the National Climatic Data Center indicates that the first six months of 2012 were the warmest and driest January through June period across Delaware since records began in 1895.

The January through June 2012 mean temperature of 55.0 degrees Fahrenheit was greater than five degrees above the 1895-2011 average (Figure 1).

statewide precipitation summary graph
Figure 2. Delaware statewide Jan - Jun precipitation from 1895-96 through 2011-2012.

The statewide January through June precipitation total of 11.88 inches was nearly ten inches below the 1895-2011 average, making 2012 the driest January through June period since 1895 (Figure 2).

Although the final data may change the rankings slightly, it is clear that January through June of 2012 was unusually warm and dry across the First State.

statewide drought monitor
Figure 3.

High evapotranspiration rates (evaporation from the surface and transpiration from vegetation) associated with the warm temperatures, combined with record low precipitation, have produced very dry conditions across much of the State (Figure 3). In fact, nearly 82% of the state is currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions, while nearly one-third is considered to be severely dry (much and Kent and Sussex Counties).

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Delaware Environmental Observing System
Delaware Geological Survey
UD College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment