September 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Believe it or not: Metro Detroit's summer ranks only 64th coldest

People look at the flooding on the Southfield Freeway at Outer Drive on Aug. 12. (Bryan Mitchell / Special to The Detroit News)

The summer of 2014 has been so damp and chilly that it must have set some kind of record, right? Wrong.

According to statistics released Tuesday afternoon by the National Weather Service, the 2014 summer season in the metro area is only the 64th coldest since the NWS began keeping records back in the 1880s.

“There have been 63 colder summers than the summer of 2014,” said meteorologist Joe Clark, working out of the White Lake Township station. “It seems like it was a colder summer because we had a colder than average July, which is traditionally the hottest month of the summer.”

According to the NWS, July was the eighth coldest July on record with an average temperature of 69.9 degrees compared to its normal average of 73.6 degrees, a departure of minus 3.7 degrees.

The overall temperature for the entire summer season (June through August) was 70.6, down slightly from the average temperature of 71.1.

(Just FYI: the coldest metro summer was set in 1915 when the average temperature was 66.5 degrees.)

To warp our senses just a little more, the amount of rainfall the metro area received would have been below average if it wasn’t for the series of cloudbursts that hammered the area on Aug. 11.

For the summer, Detroit measured 12.75 (inches of precipitation) compared to a normal of 9.89, according to the NWS.

“While this is not a significant departure from normal, had the flood not occurred at all, Detroit would have actually finished just slightly below the average value,” the weather service reported.

The Aug. 11 storms that deluged the metro area flooded nearly every area freeway, submerging some —including the massive Interstate 75/I-696 interchange — in up to 14 feet of water. Water was so deep on some freeways that divers from the Michigan State Police were brought in to check on submerged vehicles and to access blockages to freeway storm drains. Hundreds of freeway pumping stations failed due to overload or the massive power outage that left up to 160,000 homes and businesses without power for days.

Tens of thousands of metro area homeowners could only watch helplessly as 4 to 5 feet of water surged into their basements from overloaded sewers. Two deaths were caused by the deluge, including a woman who died after having a heart attack in her car while stranded on the freeway, and an elderly woman who drowned in her basement.

During the last week of August, federal, state and local officials toured the metro area accessing damages in an effort to determine the extent of federal aid for stricken homeowners.

Here are a few more stats from the NWS about the summer season for 2014:

■ High temperature for the summer was 94 set on July 22. The lowest high (daytime) temperature was 68 set on June 4.

■ The highest low (night-time) temperature was 72 degrees set on June 30.

■ The lowest night-time temperature for the summer of 2014 was 48 degrees set on June 14.

■ The number of plus 90 degree days for 2014 was three. The normal average is 13.

This summer was also marked by a period of when a mass of warm, moist and unstable air spawned a severe thunderstorm watch on July 27. Between 2 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., the system hit southeastern Michigan with 33 combined tornado, severe thunderstorm and special marine warnings. Hail of up 3 inches hit near Midland and up to 1 ¾ inches near the Highland/White Lake area of Oakland County.

One to 2 inches of rain pelted southern Oakland County while Wyandotte in southern Wayne County received 2.67 inches in four hours.

TGreenwood@detroitnews.com
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