Apr 26, 2024 - Climate

Louisiana likely to have hotter-than-usual summer

Image shows a map with the seasonal temperature outlook of the United States.

Map shows the likelihood of above, average and below average temperatures across the U.S. this summer. Photo: NOAA/CPC

New Orleans has moderately high odds of a hotter-than-usual summer in part because of a warmer Gulf of Mexico, according to new forecasts and scientific research.

Why it matters: Extreme heat is a major public health threat and plays a role in droughts and wildfires.

State of play: New Orleans had its hottest summer on record last year and had its hottest recorded day ever.

Driving the news: A recently released NOAA climate outlook for June through August shows only one whole state — North Dakota — in the Lower 48 with equal chances of below-average, average or above-average temperatures.

  • Everywhere else in the region is projected to be hotter than average, but with varying odds.

Between the lines: Human-caused climate change is altering the character of American summers.

By the numbers: The average summer temperature in New Orleans is now 3.5°F hotter than it was in 1970, according to Climate Central, a nonprofit climate research and communications group, using NOAA data.

  • New Orleans has 16 more days above 95°F in a typical summer when compared to 1970.

Zoom out: On top of rising overall temperatures, New Orleans is the worst "heat island" among all major U.S. metros, according to Climate Central.

  • New Orleans can be nearly 9°F warmer than surrounding tree-covered communities, mostly due to a lack of permeable surface.
  • Newark, New York City, Houston and San Francisco are all close behind.

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