This year’s heat by the numbers

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If you thought this year was hotter than normal, you’d be correct. On average, we see about 22 days at 90 degrees or above per year. Many of us have already exceeded that

Data as of 7/28/21


With the very hot temperatures this year, it’s raised our overall rankings for the hottest years on record.
The year is only halfway through – so this could change, but here are the rankings (below) for how hot this year is compared to the past. Bismarck is seeing its hottest year on record… Minot, it’s 5th. If you see a few rankings in the double digits and think it’s not a big deal, well… consider that in many cases this is using data that goes back into the late 1800s.

Data as of 7/28/21

If you’re curious, here are the hottest temperatures we have seen this year.

Data as of 7/28/21


When we get heat combined with humidity, it poses a heat illness threat with the heat index. The local National Weather Service offices will issue heat advisories at these thresholds. It’s based on local climatology. For instance, a Heat Advisory is issued when the heat index gets to 108° and above along the Gulf. But for us here in ND, it’s 100 degrees and higher.

You’ll notice there isn’t a threshold for Montana and west of the Rockies. That’s because they use a different type of measurement. They don’t have as much humidity to deal with, so they can’t use the traditional measurements of the rest of the country.

Data on 7/28/21

Each of these colors on the map means something. The NWS looks at how hot it will be and labels areas in a certain heat risk. For instance, in Wyoming today, temperatures will be hot and dangerous. A Heat Advisory may get issued since it would be hot enough to hurt someone who doesn’t have adequate cooling or hydration handy.

This is what all of the colors mean. If an area were put at very high risk – meaning unseasonably hot and dangerous temperatures – a Heat Advisory would get issued for those areas.

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