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What a summer it’s been! Tonight we close the books on the hottest meteorological summer on record in Chicago, at least since weather observations began in 1871.

The meteorological summer season which began on June 1 ends with the close of August at midnight tonight. To be sure, there have been many summers with hotter individual temperatures (2012, 1995, 1988 come to mind) but the warmth this summer has been persistent, especially at night where many warm overnight low temperatures have been observed. 

But when you average out all the high and low temperatures this summer since June 1, the 76.7 degree average temperature for 2020 just edges out 1955’s record of 76.4 degrees for top honors. Summer 2020 also finishes 4.9 degrees above the normal average.  

Here’s how each month of summer 2020 finished: June averaged 74.0 degrees (five degrees above normal); July averaged 79.2 degrees (5.2 degrees above normal) and August averaged 76.8 degrees (4.2 degrees above normal). 

What’s more, there have been 31 days at or above 90 degrees at O’Hare this year to date, while the “normal” number of 90-deg or higher temps in a year here is just 17, meaning we recorded 182 percent as many 90s as normal.  

This year’s tally of 31 ties with 1959 for the 12th most 90s in any year since 1871. The greatest number of 90-degree or higher temperatures occurred in hot, dry 1988, which produced 47 total 90s and seven days at or above 100-degrees.

It’s also been desperately dry. The period of July 1 through August 31 has been the driest stretch since 1944. There are a couple chances for seeing at least some rain this week, including this evening,  but unfortunately it will hardly put a dent in our drought.