Skip to content

Sacramento’s Hottest August (Next To Highway!)

September 21, 2020

By Paul Homewood

h/t Rick P


 One reader has managed to find somewhere in California where last month was the hottest August on record:


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — We all know August 2020 was hot, but did you know how hot it really was?

Almost every single day in downtown Sacramento was much hotter than average with 13 days of 100 degrees or hotter. The month saw very warm mornings with above-average temperatures and very hot afternoons.

The middle of the month saw one of the longest and hottest heat waves in Sacramento history with eight days in a row of 100 degrees of heat.

Downtown Sacramento also recorded the hottest temperature ever for the month at 112 degrees. That kind of heat has not been seen in Sacramento in more than a decade.

If you take the average highs for the month they were 6 degrees above average at 98.4 degrees. If you take the average lows for the month they were almost 5 degrees warmer than average at 66.2 degrees.

The remarkably hot August set the stage for one of the biggest fire outbreaks in California history when dry lightning created more than 500 fires in two days.

And, indeed, CLIMOD confirm this:


One slight problem, however. Sacramento Executive Airport, just ten miles away, shows August 2020 as just fourth hottest, behind 1967, 1969 and 1996:


The reason for the discrepancy is clear. The weather station (marked in blue) where the record was set is in the middle of the city, next to a six-lane highway and a giant tarmac carpark. (I don’t know what the area to the east is – any ideas?)




If we test some of the other claims out, using the airport data, we again find nothing unprecedented about last month.

For instance, the top temperature last month was 112F, but the highest summer temperature was 115F in 1961:




And there were seven days of 100F and over, which is not unusual in the least. Once again August 1967, 1969 and 1996 stand out as much more exceptional weather:



The simple fact is that the siting of the weather station in Sacramento is totally unsuitable, and the gradual temperature rise over time merely reflects UHI.

The airport site, it has to be said, is little better, a fact which highlights how poor the city location is.


Examples such as this cast grave doubts about the reliability of NOAA’s national temperature records, which rely heavily on sites like these.

  1. LeedsChris permalink
    September 21, 2020 10:35 am

    From Google Earth it’s a water treatment plant immediately to the east. Also there is a huge area of the southern part of that site that looks like a solar farm – on street view the surrounding bunds make it difficult to see, but this may be a recent addition to the landscape? A huge area covered in solar panels?

  2. LeedsChris permalink
    September 21, 2020 10:43 am

    Just googled and a major solar plant scheme was completed in 2013 at this water treatment works. Bet that’s what you can see in the satellite picture. I guess from street view this may have been on land not built on previously. I also read this water treatment works has been undergoing much additional construction in recent years. Bet all of this has increased the ‘urban heat island effect’ over the years.

  3. Matelot 65 permalink
    September 21, 2020 10:46 am

    If it is a Solar Array, then thre is a documented phenomenon whwere Solar Farms generate a “hot” micro-climate.

  4. Bloke back down the pub permalink
    September 21, 2020 11:17 am

    How does it compare to the USCRN data?

  5. Shoki Kaneda permalink
    September 21, 2020 2:24 pm

    These numbers are very plausible. There are large numbers of superheated CO2 sources in Sacramento.

  6. Mad Mike permalink
    September 21, 2020 3:00 pm

    Off topic. From the DT

    This goes back to the reality check of absolute zero. This is a report that forecast that the resources needed to achieve the Government’s target of zero emissions by 2050 are just not there.

    An inconvenient truth for the green luvvies.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      September 21, 2020 3:05 pm

      The article may be behind a paywall but what it says basically is that battery makers are coming up against reality where cobalt, nickel etc are getting to be a more scarce and will cost more than today. It looks like they have about 10 years but I think that’s being optimistic.

  7. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    September 21, 2020 4:10 pm

    The weather equipment is about 60 m to the right (east) of the marker.
    Digester tanks are there (the 2 green circles).
    Use Google early images (the clock symbol) and go back to 2/2015
    where the tanks are empty, under construction. 2/2014 shows holes in the ground.

  8. Tim Spence permalink
    September 21, 2020 4:30 pm

    And of course, the 1930’s were much hotter before the adjustments.

  9. September 21, 2020 8:34 pm

    Paul – or anyone here – for the life of me I cannot get the graphs like you posted here on the site. Help !!

    • September 21, 2020 9:24 pm

      Unfortunately you have to selectthe various criteria every time:

      Product Selection = Seasonal Ranking
      Options = Month or Season, also you can pick max/min/mean, and highest, average, no of days above a threshold etc
      Station = Station!

      It is actually a very powerful tool for analysing the raw data (which comes from NOAA) – it is well worth a play with. I would suggest you pick a location that has special meaning to you.

      • September 21, 2020 11:52 pm

        OK – no problem with sta location. When I do get a graph (but don’t always get one), it looks nothing like yours. Really cowering here. How about the steps for just one – say the Sacramento highest max temp June – Aug.

        And yes – I’ll use it for the ‘journalists’ at the Los Angeles Times,, etc.

        Many X’s thank you.

      • September 22, 2020 10:04 am

        I’ll do a short post today, Gary.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: