ROANOKE, Va. – On Tuesday, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information released their 2020 climate report for the nation and each state. The report provides climate anomaly information, temperature and precipitation analysis, insight on billion-dollar disasters and more.
Residents of the Commonwealth felt the second-warmest temperatures on record in 2020, only falling behind 2012, which had an average temperature of 57.6 degrees. Other recent years that are high in the rankings include 1990, 1998 and 2019.
Overall, it was the fifth-warmest year on record for the contiguous U.S. at 54.4 degrees (2.4 degrees above the 20th-century average).
While every state recorded an above-average temperature for 2020, no new records were set.
We told you a couple of weeks ago that 2020 was the wettest year on record in Roanoke and Lynchburg. Well, now the statewide numbers are in and it was the third-wettest year for Virginia as a whole.
Last year only fell behind 2018 and 2003 for precipitation. 2020 was clear of the fourth-place year (1972) by about five inches.
A big reason for the wet weather in 2020? Numerous tropical systems, or their remnants, passed through Virginia and we also had a few cut-off lows to deal with.
The statewide precipitation rankings are interesting to look at. While Virginia and much of the eastern half of the country was getting soaked, the western half of the country was having one of its DRIEST years on record.
In fact, Nevada and Utah set new records for least precipitation in a calendar year. The dry weather out west contributed to record wildfires in the fall.
A dry western half of the country and a wet eastern half balanced out the average annual precipitation for the country. It came in at 30.28 inches, slightly above the long-term average.