It’s been a record year for broken records. There’s just no other way to spin it. We’ve had record heat, record drought, record tornadoes, record flooding and record rhetoric about the debt, which is also a record.
In fact, you’re probably going to hear the word “record” a record number of times as you read on.
This summer, thousands of heat records were broken at individual U.S. weather stations in June, July and August, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
San Angelo, Texas set a record for warmest month three times in a row from June to August, according to the National Weather Service.
Wichita Falls was the first city in Texas to reach100 days with 100-degree temperatures which it eclipsed in September. Doing so broke the old record of 79 days. August was the hottest month in Texas history, with an average temperature of 88.1 degrees. The state’s average temperature of 86.8 this summer makes it the hottest summer ever.
The Texas drought was the most severe one-year drought on record, according to climatologists.
As the Texas drought lingered on, the Mid-South set records for high water.
During the Flood of 2011, the Mississippi cities of Vicksburg and Natchez broke records for river stage at 57.1 feet and 61.9 feet, surpassing the old records set in 1927 and 1933, respectively. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Floodway to relieve pressure on the rain-swollen Mississippi River, it marked the first time in history that all three floodways built by the corps after the 1927 flood have been in operation at the same time.
Let’s not forget the staggering number of tornadoes that raked the countryside in 2011. By June, over 1,200 tornadoes were recorded in the United States, according to preliminary numbers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In April, there were 875 confirmed tornadoes, tripling the previous April high of 267, set in 1974.
The drought, heat, floods and wind put many an agricultural producer behind and struggling with their crops from the get-go. Many producers in Texas simply never got on track, leading to record abandonment of the state’s cotton crop.
Despite these environmental stresses, due to record, or near-record commodity prices, U.S. producers are expected to push gross income to a record $425 billion in 2011, according to a report from USDA’s Economic Research Service.
Input costs are also forecast to break a record, reaching $300 billion for the first time ever. Still, there was enough of a margin for net farm income to be forecast at – you guessed it – a record $103.6 billion.
We still have a ways to go with the 2011 season, but so far it’s been weird, oppressive, volatile, dangerous, rewarding for many and disastrous for others – a year of extremes. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it will go down in history as a record year for breaking records.