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Historic Heat Wave Brings Scorching Temperatures to These 25 Cities

William SlusserAug 3, 2017

According to NASA, 2017 is on pace to be the second warmest year on record, surpassed only by El Niño-amplified 2016. This summer, in particular, has brought with it some record breaking temperatures throughout the country and heat waves are expected to continue in the coming weeks.

But to learn exactly how much hotter things have been getting this summer, researchers at ConsumersAdvocate.org conducted an in-depth analysis to see which cities have been experiencing their most significant heat waves in recent history. Below are the 25 cities experiencing the biggest increases in average high temperatures so far this summer. The analysis considers temperatures for the months of June and July only.

The 25 Cities Experiencing the Biggest Heat Waves

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

25. Lansing, Michigan

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 95 °F on 6/12
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 83.32 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 80.70 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.62 °F

Michigan’s state capital is an important educational, cultural, governmental and commercial center. Summers are usually warm and humid but these days things are even hotter. On June 12 of this year, it reached 95 degrees – over 14 degrees hotter than its historical average high temperature of 80.70 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

24. Las Vegas, Nevada

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 117 °F on 6/20
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 105.02 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 102.40 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.62 °F

Already known as a heat trap in the summer, even Las Vegas has been seeing its hottest days in history. This summer’s average high temperature is 105.02 degrees, which is 2.62 degrees hotter than the city’s 10-year historical average high. Still, that’s practically cool compared to the sizzling 117 degrees that was recorded in Las Vegas on June 20.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

23. Richmond, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 92 °F on 6/18
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 73.76 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 71.12 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.64 °F

Located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay area, Richmond generally enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate - but things are heating up. This summer’s average high is 2.64 degrees hotter than normal.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

22. Anaheim, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 99 °F on 7/9
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 86.54 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 83.89 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.65 °F

Home to world-renowned Disneyland, Anaheim typically boasts hot summers and mild winters. This summer, Anaheim has seen temperatures rise even further, hitting a summer high of 99 degrees in early July.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

21. Provo, Utah

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 104 °F on 7/6
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 94.34 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 91.59 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.75 °F

Though Provo is well known for its variety of winter sports, its summers are becoming unusually warm. On July 6, it reached 104 degrees in Provo – nearly 13 degrees hotter than the historical summer average high of 91.59 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

20. Los Angeles, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 98 °F on 7/8
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 79.00 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 76.22 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.78 °F

Los Angeles is famous for its beautiful beaches, stunning mountains and warm sunshine, but temperatures are rising in the City of Angels. This summer’s average high is 79.00 degrees – 2.78 degrees higher than its 10-year summer average high of 76.22 degrees. And on July 8, thermometers registered a whopping 98 degrees. That’s hot, even by L.A. standards.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

19. Hayward, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 100 °F on 6/18
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 76.43 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 73.62 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.81 °F

Hayward is located in Alameda County and is part of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay area. In addition, Hayward’s summer temperatures have been steadily rising. The summer of 2017 average high is 2.81 degrees above its 10-year historical counterpart, and it hit 100 degrees in the city on June 18.

Photo Credit: GoodFreePhotos

18. Springfield, Illinois

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 96 °F on 7/21
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 88.32 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 85.45 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.87 °F

The capital of Illinois, Springfield has a reputation for extreme temperatures. Hot, humid summers are typical of this Midwestern city but on July 21, thermometers registered 96 degrees – almost 11 degrees hotter than its historical 10-year average summer high of 85.45 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

17. Bakersfield, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 110 °F on 6/25
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 98.49 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 95.54 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 2.95 °F

Located near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield is an agricultural and manufacturing hub. On June 25, the temperature soared to nearly 110 degrees, which is almost 15 degrees hotter than the city’s normal summer high of 95.54 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

16. Sacramento, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 109 °F on 7/7
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 93.92 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 90.88 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.04 °F

Capital of the Golden State, Sacramento is known for scorching hot summers. Still, even by Sacramento standards, this summer has been particularly hot. The average high for June and July was over 3 degrees warmer than in recent years with multiple days exceeding 100 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

15. Modesto, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 109 °F on 6/20
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 96.57 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 93.38 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.19 °F

Modesto is located in California’s Central Valley and the city’s official motto is “Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health.” Perhaps wisely there is no mention of Modesto’s rising temperatures. It reached 109 degrees on June 20 and it’s currently 3.19 degrees hotter than its 10-year historical average high temperature.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

14. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 98 °F on 7/26
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 85.34 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 82.15 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.19 °F

Situated on the banks of the Big Sioux River, Sioux Falls typically experiences hot and humid summers, but recently its temperatures have been even hotter. Its 10-year historical high is 82.15 degrees, but its current average high has risen to 85.34 degrees – a difference of 3.19 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

13. McAllen, Texas

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 111 °F on 6/22
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 100.27 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 97.06 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.21 °F

Located at the southern tip of Texas, McAllen possesses a hot, semi-arid climate. Temperatures frequently top 100 degrees in the summer but on June 22, the thermometer recorded 111 degrees. Even for South Texas, that’s hot and it’s almost 14 degrees above normal summer highs.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

12. Palmdale, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 109 °F on 7/8
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 98.49 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 95.17 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.32 °F

Palmdale is located in California’s High Desert and receives over 300 days of sunshine per year. Temperatures frequently soar into triple-digits but lately things have been getting even hotter. On July 8, the high was 109 degrees in Palmdale – nearly 14 degrees hotter than its historical average high.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

11. Spokane, Washington

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 102 °F on 7/6
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 84.82 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 81.47 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.35 °F

Spokane has experienced quite the heat wave this summer with temperatures exceeding the average high for previous years by nearly 4 degrees. Conveniently, the city sits around a river that residents regularly float and raft down to cool off – great for days such as July 6 where temperatures hit 102 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

10. Des Moines, Iowa

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 101 °F on 7/21
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 88.20 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 84.81 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.39 °F

Des Moines is the state capital and the most populous city in Iowa. Though its climate generally includes hot humid summers and cold, snowy winters, things are getting hotter in Des Moines. On July 21, the temperature reached 101 degrees in the city, about 12 degrees warmer than what we’ve seen over the past 10 years.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

9. San Diego, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 96 °F on 7/7
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 78.48 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 75.06 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.42 °F

Located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego is famous for its warm, dry summers and mild winters, but its temperatures have been steadily rising. The average high for this summer is a full 3.42 degrees above its 10-year historical high. And on June 26, it reached 96 degrees – a rarity for this coastal region.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

8. Omaha, Nebraska

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 103 °F on 7/21
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 89.44 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 85.96 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.48 °F

Omaha is a well-respected business center but perhaps it is best known as the home of Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha – one of the richest men in the world. But even Mr. Buffett can’t control the rising temperatures. 89.44 degrees has been the average high this summer, which is 3.48 degrees above normal.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

7. Ontario, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 108 °F on 7/7
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 93.10 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 89.61 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.49 °F

Located in an area known as the Inland Empire, Ontario is roughly 35 miles due east of Los Angeles. Its inland location produces a semi-arid climate with very hot summers and warm winters. On July 7, the thermometer reached 108 degrees – almost 19 degrees hotter than its historical average summer high.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

6. Salt Lake City, Utah

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 105 °F on 7/5
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 93.29 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 89.69 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.60 °F

Salt Lake City is well-known for its many outdoor recreational activities. With its semi-arid climate, hot summers and cold winters are the norm but things are heating up. This summer, Salt Lake City’s high temperatures were 3.60 degrees hotter than what we’ve seen over the past decade.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

5. Lancaster, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 110 °F on 7/8
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 99.45 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 95.62 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.83 °F

Lancaster is a city in northern Los Angeles County in the Antelope Valley, which borders the western region of the Mojave Desert. Needless to say, it gets hot in Lancaster in the summer. On July 8, the high was 110 degrees, over 14 degrees hotter than the historical average high.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

4. Santa Rosa, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 108 °F on 7/16
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 86.05 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 82.20 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 3.85 °F

Santa Rosa sits at the northwestern gateway to the Sonoma and Napa Valleys of California's famed Wine Country. Typically, Santa Rosa experiences cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers but temperatures are steadily rising. On July 16, it was 108 degrees in the city, an astounding 26 degrees above the historical average high.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

3. Riverside, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 109 °F on 7/7
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 94.03 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 89.92 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 4.11 °F

Named because of its location near the Santa Ana River, Riverside is the largest city in California’s Inland Empire. Its climate includes mild, wet winters and hot dry summers. Though it’s not unusual for summer temperatures to exceed 100 degrees, the thermometer recorded 109 degrees on July 7 – about 19 degrees above the historical average high of 89.92 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

2. Concord, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 108 °F on 6/18
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 90.48 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 85.62 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 4.86 °F

Lying just 29 miles northeast of San Francisco, Concord is the largest city in Contra Costa County. Renowned for its downtown Todo Santos Plaza, Concord possesses a hot summer Mediterranean climate. This summer’s average high temperature is 90.48 degrees – a whopping 4.86 degrees above its 10-year historical average high of 85.62 degrees.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

1. Stockton, California

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 109 °F on 6/22
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 96.69 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 91.71 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 4.98 °F

Built during the California Gold Rush, Stockton today is a 4-time recipient of an All-American City designation. Despite its accolades, things are heating up in Stockton. The average high for June and July of this year was 96.96 degrees – 4.98 degrees hotter than its 10-year historical average high. And, on June 22, the temperature soared to a sizzling 109 degrees.

Bonus City

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Phoenix, Arizona

  • 2017 Summer Peak: 119 °F on 6/20
  • 2017 Summer Average High: 106.17 °F
  • Historical Summer Average High: 104.53 °F
  • Difference in Average High: 1.64 °F

Summers are notoriously hot in the Arizona desert and Phoenix is no exception. So far, this summer’s average high has been 106.17 degrees – 1.63 degrees hotter than the norm of 104.53. Though those numbers are high, the temperature in Phoenix reached an astounding 119 degrees on June 20, setting a new record. 


Our Methodology

Using data from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), we identified cities that have experienced above average temperatures by comparing the average high temperature for June and July of this year to the same period over the previous 10 years. When a city had more than one station reporting weather data, we included each station’s data to compute the average high temperature. We then narrowed our list down to cities with populations over 100k people and picked the cities with the largest absolute deviation from normal. For summer peak temperature, we looked at the hottest temperature recorded for any station within a city. The data was pulled on August 1st, 2017.