Today marks the first day of climatological fall, so I took a quick look back at the statistics for the last three months. Precipitation was not extreme in most of the region, and mean temperatures were warmer than normal but not near record-setting. But I did notice that if you look specifically at night-time minimum temperatures, many stations in the region were in the top five years on record, including a number of stations with well over 100 years of data.
This is important for agriculture because warm nights are hard on livestock, who need a cooling-off period each day to prevent the effects of heat stress. So even though daytime temperatures were warmer than average, it is the very warm nights that take the most toll on animals. You can look at more statistics using the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s Perspectives tool at http://www.sercc.com/perspectives?user=true.
If we look at it in historical context, almost all of the really warm summer minimum temperatures have occurred since 1998, according to the NCEI Climate at a Glance tool. If these trends to warmer nighttime temperatures continue (as they are expected to), this will mean livestock producers will need to take extra care in the coming years to provide cooling for their animals to prevent impacts from heat stress like reduction in milk production and reduction in fertility.