It has been a hot summer. So hot. From New York to Atlanta, Chicago and the Midwest, right across the country it has been a season of brutal temperatures, blasting air conditioners and sweaty people.
But where was it the hottest?
Louisville, Ky., according to analysis of data from the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration.
Louisville has spent the most days above normal temperatures beginning in June, according to NOAA: a total of 73 for June, July and up to Aug. 17. The city normally sees summer high temperatures ranging from 83 in June to 87 in July. But this year it logged nearly all of June and July above normal, and it spent every day in August, up to Aug. 17, above normal. Still, it hasn't broken its record 107-degree day, set in 1936.
Memphis, the second-hottest city this summer, has had 72 days above normal so far. Normally high temperatures range from 88.5 in June to 92 in July, with a record 111 set in 1918. But so far it has spent all but six days (and those days were in July) above normal.
Atlanta ranks third, with 69 days above normal. Hotlanta was above normal highs for 29 days in June, 24 days in July and 16 days of August (again, up to Aug. 17). Its record of 105, set in 1980, still stands. Raleigh, N.C., and New Orleans are close behind with 68 days above normal. Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh each had 61 days. Houston had to wait until mid-August to reach the 100-degree mark, but still had plenty of heat. It rounds out the top 10 sweltering cities with days above normal since the beginning of June.
Overall July 2010 was the second-warmest on record, next to 1998, and this June was the warmest on record, NOAA says. July was the 305th consecutive month with an average global temperature above the 20th-century average. The last month with below-average temperatures was February 1985.
The relatively cool spots? Los Angeles has been at normal temperatures all summer, and San Francisco has been above normal only one day.
It's far from over. Temperatures should stay elevated in New England, the Great Lakes and the Southwest going into the early months of the home heating season, according to NOAA.
That's thanks to La Niña winds, which should return this fall. That could complicate the Atlantic hurricane season, which is already expected to be active.
La Niña is preceded by a buildup of cooler-than-normal subsurface waters in the tropical Pacific, says NOAA (it's the opposite of El Niño). La Niña often features drier-than-normal conditions in the Southwest in late summer through the winter; it's also drier than normal in the Central Plains during the fall and in the Southeast during the winter. The Pacific Northwest is more likely to be wetter than normal in the late fall and early winter. La Niña winters are warmer than normal in the Southeast and colder than normal in the Northwest.
The hurricane season could get busier as La Niña conditions lower wind shear over the Atlantic, making way for storms to grow and organize. The waters of the Atlantic and Caribbean are already warmer than average, according to the National Weather Services' climate prediction center. NOAA is predicting, with 70% probability, a total of 14 to 20 named storms, eight to 12 of them hurricanes, and four to six of those "major" ones packing winds of at least 111 miles per hour.