It’s practically a hobby in Austin: Griping about the sultry summertime weather. And the thermometer gives us plenty of ammo for grumbling: As is typical during the summer months, the mercury in Austin is currently hovering in the triple digits.
But if the weather forecast doesn’t provide enough reason to escape to air-conditioned confines, here’s another: Among all 361 U.S. metro areas, the five-county Austin area ranks 16th for the hottest summertime weather. That’s according to the first-ever Sperling Heat Index. Bert Sperling, the brainchild behind the index, is well-known for various city and demographic rankings.
Here’s the lowdown on Austin’s summertime heat:
- Average high temperature: 94.8
- Nighttime low temperature: 72.3
- Dew point: 69.1
- Relative humidity at high temperature: 43 percent
With all of those numbers combined, drought-stricken Austin ranks 92.2 on the Sperling Heat Index, with 100 being the highest possible score.
According to NPR’s StateImpact Texas, Austin hit triple digits 35 times in 2012. The average is 13.
If you think Austin is scorching during the summer, head to Yuma, Arizona, which stands atop the heat index. Average high temperature in the summer: 106.7. Yuma’s total score on the index: 99.9.
Here’s something else that might make you feel a tad bit cooler. Ten Texas metro areas rank higher on the index than Austin did. They are Laredo (No. 4), McAllen (No. 5), Brownsville (No. 7), Corpus Christi (No. 8), Victoria (No. 9), Waco (No. 10), Bryan-College Station (No. 11), Dallas-Fort Worth (No. 12), Wichita Falls (No. 13), and Houston (No. 14).
Among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, Austin comes in at No. 5 on the index. Ahead of it are Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.
The Sperling Heat Index said its summertime weather measurement is unique because it includes nighttime low temperatures. “Nighttime heat is especially bad,” said Eli Jacks, chief of fire and public weather services at the National Weather Service, “because your body never has a chance to recover.”
For tips on how to cope with the summer heat, visit the City of Austin website.