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Toledo’s 1st 9 months of year warmest ever

The first nine months of 2012 were the warmest such period on record in Toledo and across the United States as a whole, a fresh climate report states.

But for 2012 to end up as Toledo’s warmest since record-keeping began at Toledo Express Airport 58 years ago, a recent local cooling trend will need to reverse itself, according to a National Climatic Data Center scientist.

Through September, the average daily mean temperature at the local airport was 58.8 degrees, which is 3.5 degrees higher than normal.

Toledo Express was one of 109 weather-reporting stations nationwide, out of 180 total, for which January through September was the warmest first nine months on record. For 21 more locations, it was the second-warmest such period, and it was in the top five for an additional 22.

“From winter into early spring, the jet stream tended to stay farther north, so there were relatively few cold-air intrusions from Canada,” said Jack Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate center.

After that, the onset of drought in much of the Midwest fueled the continuing above-normal warmth well into summer, Mr. Crouch said.

While drought conditions in Toledo were mild compared to what developed as close by as northern Indiana, the summer here was punctuated by five 100-degree days. July was the fifth-hottest on record, while May placed ninth in that regard.

That followed record-shattering warmth in March and a winter that really wasn’t: December through February, which is how meteorologists define the winter season, was Toledo’s 10th-warmest on record. And for that, data go back all the way to 1873-74.

But 10 straight months of warmer-than-normal weather in Toledo came to an end in August, and September and the first nine days of October have been even farther below normal than August was in northwest Ohio.

The warmest years in Toledo since the airport weather station’s opening are 1998, with a 53.3-degree average, and 2002, when the average temperature was 52.3. Including years when the official temperature readings were taken downtown at The Blade, the record is a 53.6-degree tie between 1921 and 1931.

To beat those marks in 2012, Mr. Crouch said, Toledo’s weather will have to be at least “slightly warmer than normal” for the rest of the year. The midpoint between the daily high and daily low, the normal average daily means, for Toledo are 52.3 degrees in October, 41.4 degrees in November, and 29.7 degrees in December.

NOAA uses a rolling 30-year period to determine normal temperatures. The current comparison period is 1981 through 2010.

Besides Toledo, regional cities with warmth records during 2012’s first nine months include Akron (57.3 degrees), Cleveland (57.6), Cincinnati (61.0), Columbus (60.4), Detroit (57.6), Fort Wayne (57.7), Indianapolis (61.2), Chicago (58.5), and Pittsburgh (57.8).

Youngstown’s year has been the second-warmest, at 55.6 degrees through September. Des Moines and Sioux Falls, S.D., tied for the greatest difference between their nine-month averages and their normal temperatures for the period. Both were 6 degrees warmer than normal.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com, or 419-724-6094.

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