It’s no secret that the last two summers have been brutally hot around San Antonio. And now, we have the numbers to prove it: in 2022 and 2023, San Antonio experienced the two hottest Julys on record.
- San Antonio’s average temperature - or the average of both the daily high and the daily low - for July 2023 was 89.4 degrees
- July 2023 was the second hottest July on record, one year after the hottest July on record: July 2022 with an average temperature of 89.8 degrees
- July 2023 was not only the second hottest July on record, but it also comes in third behind July 2022 and August 2011 as the third hottest month EVER in San Antonio’s recorded history
- Reliable weather records for San Antonio date back to 1885, 138 years ago
- There is abundant scientific evidence that climate change will enhance the normal heat we experience in the summer months AND...
- Three straight years of the natural La Niña weather pattern contributed to the recent stretch of hot summers
HOT HIGHS & WARM LOWS
July 2023 was not just hot during the afternoons, but the mornings were warmer than average, too.
- The average daily high temperature for July 2023 was 100.7 degrees, 5.7 degrees hotter than the average high of 94.9 degrees
- The hottest high of July 2023 was 106 degrees on Thursday, July 13, and was a part of a 15-day triple-digit streak from July 8 to July 22 -- the second-longest, 100-degree streak on record
- The average morning low was a warm 78 degrees, 3.3 degrees warmer than the average low of 74.7 degrees
WHEN WILL WE SEE RELIEF?
As Texans, we pride ourselves on our ability to deal with the heat. But, as you can see, the last two years have been next-level. With records dropping left and right, we need light at the end of this proverbial tunnel. And that tunnel has been long! But...don’t lose hope! Here’s when San Antonio typically sees cooler temps, our first cold front, etc.
THE ROLE OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON TEXAS SUMMERS
Yes, I know -- it’s a hot-button topic -- but climate change has played a role in our hotter summers.
This doesn’t mean that every single summer will be hotter than the next. In fact, as recently as 2020, July was actually cooler than normal. And who can forget the devastating winter storm of 2021?
So, while times of cool (or even cold) weather will still exist for San Antonio, summers on average will be warmer because of greenhouse gasses. In fact, there is abundant evidence that climate change causes Texas temperatures to average about two degrees warmer now than in the 20th century.
And it’s not just the afternoons where the effects of climate change are felt. Because of higher humidity in the air, summer nights are getting warmer in San Antonio, moving average temperatures -- or the average of both the daily high and daily low -- hotter.
With that being said, the reason for our recently hot Julys is not all because of climate change. As usual, with hot-button issues, the answer falls somewhere in the middle. There ARE natural reasons for the above-average heat, and one of those reasons is because of the recent, almost three-year-long La Niña -- which began in the late summer of 2020. La Niña often creates a dry weather pattern for San Antonio, and when the weather is dry, it tends to be hotter in the summer. Sprinkle on the effects of greenhouse gasses and, voilà, you have record-breaking hot Julys.
With La Niña in the rearview mirror and El Niño upon us, there is hope for more rain in the fall and winter. However...South Texas tends to come out of droughts in a dramatic fashion. After a dry stretch, it was the Flood of ‘98 that pulled us out of a late-90s drought. In 2015, it was the Blanco River floods that occurred after an extended La Niña drought. History tells us that we should be prepared for flash flooding at some point over the next few years.
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