Sure, it was a hot summer. But is this year really different from normal?
The answer, according to the National Weather Service's "Weather Whisper" publication, is a resounding yes.
Through November 24 of this year, no part of Iowa has averaged temperatures less than two degrees above normal. Large portions of the state, including much of Davis, Wapello, Appanoose and Monroe counties, averaged more than four degrees above normal.
July saw the peak of the summer heat wrote Craig Cogil, a senior meteorologist with the NWS. It was the third-hottest July on record, with many locations recording multiple days with highs above 100 degrees. The month as a whole was 6.1 degrees above normal.
July wasn't just hot, it was dry. The 1.16 inches of rain that fell was more than three inches below normal, making the month the fifth driest on record.
All told, the summer of 2012 ranks as the fifth driest and 14th warmest in Iowa's history. Official records date back 140 years.
Fall has been closer to normal. Forecasters believe the winter will be cooler than the winter of 2011-2012, but they don't expect enough rain or snow to recharge the soil after this year's drought.