ROANOKE, Va. – After compiling the data and consulting with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, we can say that Roanoke experienced its second-warmest year on record in 2019.
It was a very close call.
The average temperature in the Roanoke Valley was 59.425° in 2019. The warmest year on record was in 2012, when the average temperature was 59.475°. (You remember 2012 as being the year when we hit 100° multiple times, and when the derecho moved through.)
So, yes. We were within 0.05° (five-hundredths of a degree) of a historically warm year. That’s how close it was.
In Blacksburg, 2019 was the fifth warmest year on record. When we looked at the data for Lynchburg and Danville, neither area was close to record warmth. Part of the reason for this may come down to a couple of things.
1. Roanoke and Blacksburg saw a significant amount of 90° days in 2019. 59 such days in Lynchburg and 70 such days in Southside is still significant. The difference comes down to overnight low temperatures.
2. There are often times when we have a cooler air mass, dry air and a calmer wind in Lynchburg and Danville. That allows the temperature to drop more than it might some nights in Roanoke or Blacksburg. Roanoke and Blacksburg’s proximity to the mountains allows for more wind, which mixes the air more, and keeps temperatures elevated some nights. We notice that a lot in the summer and autumn.
We may very well see that happen Thursday morning. Temperatures will likely be in the 20s in Lynchburg and Danville, but in the lower 30s in Roanoke.
When looking at the Top 10 warmest years on record, five of them happened in the 2010s in the Roanoke Valley. Below is that raw data compiled here:
So while 2018 was the wettest year on record in many parts of our area, 2019 will go down as one of the warmest years on record in Roanoke...for now.