Another Update (Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013): Despite the late season heat wave in parts of the Plains and Midwest, there is a preliminary report that indicates that this summer has featured the fewest 100 degree days on a nationwide basis in over a century (using NOAA's Global Historical Climatology Network dataset). The five summers with the highest number of 100 degree days across the nation are as follows: 1936, 1934, 1954, 1980 and 1930.
Update (Monday, 19 Aug 2013): 2013 is now in record territory for a record low year in number of US tornadoes going back all 60 years in the historical database. We are now about 200 tornadoes below last year's numbers at this same point in the year and last year was a low event year as well.
Friday, 09 Aug 2013, 11:40 AM: Whether you’re talking about wildfires, drought, heat waves, tornadoes or hurricanes, weather-related disasters in the US are all down compared to recent years and if you have been in the “doom and gloom” forecast business then you must be quite disappointed.
To begin with, the actual number of wildfires across the US using year-to-date statistical comparisons (below) is currently the lowest it has been in the past ten years and the acreage involved is at the second lowest level in that same time period. The number of wildfires typically corresponds pretty well with heat and drought conditions and indeed the percentage of the contiguous US that is currently experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions is around 57% which is considerably lower than the 79% recorded at this same time one year ago. Also, the number of nationwide high temperature records for this year is far below last year with 17,486 high max or high min temperature records as compared with nearly 50,000 at this same point one year ago.
In addition, barring a very surprising and abnormally active fall season, the number of tornado reports this year is on a pace quite likely well below those reported in all years going back to 2000 (below). Finally, as far as hurricanes are concerned, even though there has not been a hurricane yet this season, it is way too early to make any conclusions about this year’s Atlantic tropical season as the climatologically active time period is really just beginning (mid-August through September). It is noteworthy, however, to point out there has that there has not been a major hurricane strike (ie category 3, 4 or 5) in the US since October 2005 when Hurricane Wilma struck during that particular very active tropical season. In fact, this is the longest stretch without a major hurricane strike in the US since the Civil War - let’s hope that trend continues. By the way, just as a point of comparison, in 1954 the US was hit by 3 major hurricanes in less than 10 weeks.