100 cities where summer is starting earlier

Written by:
June 16, 2020
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100 cities where summer is starting earlier

Many have wondered what effects the heat of this upcoming summer 2020 will have on the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but less-questioned are what effects the coronavirus pandemic will have on the future climates of U.S. cities. Many government funds globally are being allocated toward economic relief programs, at the cost of funding programs dedicated to mitigating the effects of global warming.

The number of 90-degree (or higher) days the United States experiences annually may double by 2050, with cities across the United States warming at different rates depending on their location. Climates heating up throughout the year leads to more higher-temperature days overall annually, meaning that summer—at least as defined by the threshold average temperature experienced in the city—is arriving anywhere from days to weeks earlier across the country.

But an earlier summer isn’t just the harbinger of sunshine. Rising temperatures can unleash an array of climate events, including floods, coastal erosion, and drought, depending on the region in question. These effects can in turn impact local health, economies, and housing, among other sectors. The University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science has created an interactive map that allows U.S. citizens to explore what their city will feel like over the next six decades as climate change intensifies. Historically-cooler cities may come to resemble their warmer and more humid counterparts; but for many cities, there is “no modern equivalent” for the climate that will soon characterize their area.

In order to find the cities where summer is starting earlier, Stacker analyzed data provided by nonprofit climate communication organization Climate Central in a May 2020 report. For every city, Climate Central analyzed historical temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Applied Climate Information System, over a study period from 1970 to 2019. Using the historical trend, a seasonal maximum temperature, or threshold temperature, is calculated for every city. The number of days earlier that summer begins is the difference in days between 2019 and 1970 when the threshold temperature is first met. All degrees posted, including projected temperature increases, refer to Fahrenheit. Average, highest, and lowest summer temperatures for individual cities are from the NOAA's Time Series Database when available.

Read on to find out how much sooner summer is coming to your city, and what other effects climate change will likely bring in the coming decades.

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#100. Roanoke, Virginia

- Days earlier: 9.6
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 73.49° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 93.7° F (August 2007)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 53° F (September 1976)

As summer comes earlier to Roanoke, so too would higher springtime temperatures and an increased risk of wildfires. Besides the threats this poses to the city’s residents, it may also create challenges for Virginia’s state bird, the northern cardinal.

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#98. Madison, Wisconsin (tie)

- Days earlier: 9.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 67.58° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 90.6° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 43.7° F (September 1976)

Beyond introducing an earlier summer, climate change is also expected to raise the intensity of storms, precipitation, and high temperatures in Madison, across all seasons. To prepare, the city is collaborating with the University of Wisconsin to strengthen its infrastructure, including improving the capacities of its roads, bridges, and sewer systems.

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#98. Bangor, Maine (tie)

- Days earlier: 9.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 75° F
- Average summer temperature: 64.81° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 83.4° F (July 1995)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 42.4° F (September 1995)

This coastal city is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, with an 88% risk of a significant flood event hitting residents between now and 2050. Luckily, many initiatives, including the Maine Coastal Program and Maine Sea Grant, are dedicated to preparing Bangor and other nearby cities.

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#97. Anchorage, Alaska

- Days earlier: 9.9
- Summer threshold temperature: 65° F
- Average summer temperature: 55.14° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 73.1° F (July 2019)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 33.8° F (September 1992)

On the opposite side of the country, coastal Anchorage’s community and economic stability are likely facing increased wildfires, lower snowfalls, and disturbed species life cycles. The city is at the helm of guarding against climate change’s anticipated effects, issuing a climate action plan in September 2019 that uniquely prioritized local indigenous communities’ perspectives.

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#96. State College, Pennsylvania

- Days earlier: 10.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

Perhaps the most noticeable harbinger of a warming climate in State College is the record rainfall, which is expected to only increase in frequency and intensity in the coming years. In June 2019, the city passed a resolution pledging to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to zero and reach 100% renewable energy over the next three decades.

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#94. Evansville, Indiana (tie)

- Days earlier: 10.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 74.98° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 97.3° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 52.8° F (September 1974)

Largely due to the city’s heavy carbon emissions, Evansville is expected to experience higher temperatures more quickly than other parts of Indiana. Local government has been attentive to ways the city can curb the ensuing effects, noting possibilities for emissions-efficient transportation, renewable energy, and other alternatives.

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#94. Alexandria, Louisiana (tie)

- Days earlier: 10.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

As Alexandria is not a coastal city, it is not facing the extreme risk of coastal erosion and flooding that more-southern areas are in Louisiana. However, the city is still expected to experience drought and an increase in summer precipitation as its climate warms.

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#90. Traverse City, Michigan (tie)

- Days earlier: 10.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

Traverse City is expected to warm by 3 to 4 degrees in the near future, a change significant enough to usher in more frequent and intense precipitation year-round, likely resulting in flooding. The local agricultural industry in particular is poised to suffer. The city is feeling these effects more rapidly than other parts of the state.

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#90. Sacramento, California (tie)

- Days earlier: 10.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 73.68° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 98.1° F (July 1988)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 52.1° F (September 1986)

By the end of the 21st century, it is expected that seasonal temperatures in Sacramento will have all increased by around 10 degrees. As a result, the city will likely see more common instances of intense drought, wildfires, and floods, threats local government is attempting to guard against with a variety of emissions-cutting policies.

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#90. Parkersburg, West Virginia (tie)


- Days earlier: 10.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

Parkersburg may warm by 5 degrees within the next few decades, a change likely accompanied by both drought and floods. The area’s significant forests—including its red spruce population—are particularly sensitive to changes in climate, and may be negatively impacted.

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#90. Kansas City, Missouri (tie)

- Days earlier: 10.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 74.51° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 91.1° F (August 1974)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 51.2° F (September 1974)

It is thought that over the coming decades, Kansas City will increase from around four days per year that exceed 105 degrees to 62 days per year. This is expected to pose particularly-stark challenges to the city’s lower-income residents, who may struggle to meet household energy costs.

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#89. Colorado Springs, Colorado

- Days earlier: 10.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 67.72° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 92.9° F (July 2003)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 44.1° F (September 1971)

Colorado Springs could face anywhere from a 3- to 11-degree increase in year-round temperatures by the end of this century, which will likely impact the nearby snowpack and, by extension, the city’s water supply. In anticipation, some natural resource officials in the city are examining ways that a warmer climate may be a positive change, with the potential to benefit local agriculture.

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#88. Lansing, Michigan

- Days earlier: 10.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

Within the next 50 years, Lansing may see four times the number of dangerously-hot days it usually experiences. In April 2020, the city began putting together a climate action plan, aimed at achieving widespread renewable energy.

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#87. Birmingham, Alabama

- Days earlier: 11.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 78.50° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 98.3° F (August 2007)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 59.3° F (September 1981)

The past three years alone have brought intensified precipitation, drought, and heatwaves to Birmingham, where the average daily high temperature is expected to increase to around 97 degres in future summers. Unfortunately, the city’s efforts to prepare for the effects of climate change have been lackluster, ranking low in comparison to other cities' sustainability plans.

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#85. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (tie)

- Days earlier: 11.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 69.25° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 88.1° F (July 1988)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 48.4° F (September 1976)

On the heels of the damage that Pittsburgh’s wettest year on record wrought, Mayor Bill Peduto has allocated $6.8 million to upgrading the city’s infrastructure. More frequent and heavy rain and earlier snow evaporation are all expected to increase floods in the city in the near future.

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#85. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (tie)

- Days earlier: 11.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 77.49° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 101.9° F (July 1980)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 52.7° F (September 1974)

The past 30 years have seen Oklahoma City set personal records for precipitation and high temperatures. The city’s already-widely-varying climate is expected to only become more erratic as temperatures warm, with droughts and wildfires projected for the future.

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Ron Cogswell // Flickr

#83. Quincy, Illinois (tie)

- Days earlier: 11.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

As temperatures climb in Quincy, so too will heavy precipitation and risk of flooding. The city’s outdated shared sewer system puts the public at particular risk of experiencing contaminated runoff during storms, which may easily spill over into surrounding waterways.

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#83. Burlington, Vermont (tie)

- Days earlier: 11.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 67.45° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 87.4° F (July 2018)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 45.4° F (September 1978)

Burlington recently faced its hottest month on record, and is expected to experience a doubling of the number of days that reach 87 degrees by 2050. The city’s 2020 action plan addresses everything from housing to food security, and is particularly dedicated to reducing carbon emissions, both by the public and by government officials.

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MARELBU // Wikimedia Commons

#82. Chico, California

- Days earlier: 11.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

Cal State Chico’s 2030 project paints a hot future for the city, with as many as 30 extreme heat days per year by 2030, as well as a prolonged dry season. In February 2019, Chico’s city council updated the goals within its Climate Action Plan, now aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more aggressively by 2050.

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#80. Salt Lake City, Utah (tie)

- Days earlier: 11.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 73.54° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 98.5° F (July 2003)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 48° F (September 1970)

As Salt Lake City's daily summer highs are expected to average 100 degrees by 2050, precipitation may increase along with it. The city’s recently updated Joint Resolution has two main goals for mitigating climate change’s effects: achieving 100% renewable energy in the community by 2030, and an 80% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

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#80. Lafayette, Louisiana (tie)

- Days earlier: 11.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

In Lafayette, flooding of low-lying areas is already a known risk, but now is anticipated to increase to multiple instances a year. There has been criticism that the city—whose leaders have yet to lay out an official action plan—isn’t preparing enough for the effects of climate change.

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#79. Richmond, Virginia

- Days earlier: 11.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 75.12° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 93.9° F (July 2010)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 55.1° F (September 1984)

Ahead of the increased temperatures and more-frequent heat waves Richmond is anticipating over the coming years, the city has introduced its RVA Green 2050 initiative. Based on the Paris Climate goals, the plan aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

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Pjt408 // Wikimedia Commons

#78. Mason City, Iowa

- Days earlier: 11.9
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

Mason City is facing more than a few threats to its way of life over the next 10 to 15 years. As average temperatures rise, increases in air pollutants and infectious disease spread are both probable. This poses particular risk to the city’s public health, as well as its agricultural economy.

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#77. Norfolk, Virginia

- Days earlier: 12
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 77.10° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 93.9° F (July 2010)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 60.4° F (September 1976)

Rising sea levels are impacting Norfolk particularly hard, forcing many in the coastal city to retreat from their waterfront homes. While the city attempts to create an official plan for the changes it is facing, it has surmised it may spend $1.57 billion in mitigating risk.

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#75. Tuscaloosa, Alabama (tie)

- Days earlier: 12.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

Tuscaloosa’s summer days may soon cross the threshold into averaging above 100 degrees. Increased precipitation, storms, and floods are all likely, threatening the large population of citizens who live in vulnerable structures such as trailers.

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#75. Concord, New Hampshire (tie)

- Days earlier: 12.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 66.73° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 88.1° F (July, 2010)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 42.1° F (September, 1978)

Concord may become anywhere from 5 to 8 degrees warmer in the next 50 years, depending on how much the city is able to curb its greenhouse gas emissions. Future summers are expected to be the hottest on record, possibly resembling those in South Carolina.

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#73. Portland, Oregon (tie)

- Days earlier: 12.2
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 66.94° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 87.5° F (July 1985)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 50° F (September 1970)

As Portland’s temperatures increase, it is particularly vulnerable to urban heat islands—pockets within the city that will become particularly hot. Recognizing that historically-redlined neighborhoods have less green spaces than others and are nearly 13 degrees warmer, the city is now examining how to prepare for the rising temperatures “through a racial equity lens.”

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#73. Allentown, Pennsylvania (tie)

- Days earlier: 12.2
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 70.29° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 92.8° F (July 1999)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 49.1° F (September 1984)

As Allentown warms by an expected 5.4 degrees over the next three decades, an onset of intense storms is expected. This will continue the pattern the city has already witnessed, with July 2018–June 2019 recorded as Allentown’s wettest year yet, and temperatures “much above average,” according to NOAA.

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#71. Panama City, Florida (tie)

- Days earlier: 12.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

As Panama City warms, there is an 80% risk that those who live within seven feet above sea level will be flooded completely before 2050. To ensure that citizens and local government are aware of the impending risks, several area newspapers are now collaborating on the Invading Sea Project, which aims to educate and create a drive for preparation.

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Phillip Stewart // Flickr

#71. Casper, Wyoming (tie)

- Days earlier: 12.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 64.67° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 92.9° F (July 2000)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 34.2° F (September 1984)

Building climate resilience in Casper has largely focused on how to curb the city’s greenhouse gas emissions without shutting down its significant coal industry. Currently, energy researchers at the University of Wyoming are working to develop a carbon capture technology that would allow for carbon sequestration and reduced-pollution coal burning.

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#70. Lexington, Kentucky

- Days earlier: 12.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 73.51° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 93.4° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 53.2° F (September 1976)

Lexington has already seen increasingly-less snow over the past 40 years, as winters have progressively warmed. As this trend continues, the city will likely see a variety of both cold- and warm-weather effects, including storms and droughts.

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David Herrera // Flickr

#68. Las Cruces, New Mexico (tie)

- Days earlier: 13.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F

Facing increases in temperature, Las Cruces has been proactive in building climate resilience. The city has already decreased its energy use by 25% over the past 10 years. Now, it has turned to gauging greenhouse gas emissions and building a rainwater catchment system.

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#68. Atlantic City, New Jersey (tie)

- Days earlier: 13.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 72.24° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 91.3° F (July 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 53.4° F (September 1978)

Atlantic City is particularly vulnerable to the rising sea levels that warmer temperatures will bring. Within the next three decades, as many as one-third of residents in the city may experience flooding. In January 2020, New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy announced that any proposed construction project must now demonstrate awareness of the rising water levels in order to be approved.

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#67. Amarillo, Texas

- Days earlier: 13.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 75.33° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 99.7° F (August 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 51.7° F (September 1974)

Amarillo has seen increasingly prolonged and intense drought periods, including a recent rainless streak that lasted from October to February. Days in which temperatures exceed 100 degrees may quadruple within the next three decades, which will likely put stressors on the city’s energy grid and agricultural sector.

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#65. Houston, Texas (tie)

- Days earlier: 13.2
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F
- Average summer temperature: 83.17° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 100.1° F (August 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 67.8° F (September 1975)

Warming temperatures have already introduced intense storms to the Houston area, with Hurricane Harvey causing widespread damage in 2017. Within the next decade alone, Houston is projected to warm by 2 degrees, with a one-foot rise in sea levels expected to make storms even more amplified.

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#65. Charleston, West Virginia (tie)

- Days earlier: 13.2
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 72.39° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 92.2° F (July 1999)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 52.4° F (September 1999)

The coming decades will bring anywhere from four to eight times as many 100-degree days than Charleston usually has annually, unless the city is able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Charleston—and West Virginia in general—have generally been slow to respond to climate change due to the state’s dependence on coal. But that might be changing. In September 2019, the local government began widespread discussion on the city’s climate resilience.

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#64. Fort Wayne, Indiana

- Days earlier: 13.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 70.11° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 91.5° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 48.8° F (September 1976)

Although summer is indeed coming earlier in Fort Wayne, its residents may more readily notice its fast-warming winters, which recently saw a nearly 5- to 8-degree temperature increase. To curb its heat-trapping emissions, the city is working to diminish its energy use, as well as prioritize the use of sustainable vehicles.

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#62. Pensacola, Florida (tie)

- Days earlier: 13.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

Due to its coastal position, Pensacola is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise in the coming years, facing extreme flood risk rates. The city’s Mitigation and Adaptation Task Force has laid out detailed plans to prepare, considering a variety of sectors including transportation, public health, and economic resilience.

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Sanfranman59 // Wikimedia Commons

#62. Canton, Ohio (tie)

- Days earlier: 13.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

Both droughts and precipitation levels are expected to intensify in Canton in the coming years. Alternating between dry spells and possibly flood-level rains is likely to be detrimental to the local agriculture.

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#61. Denver, Colorado

- Days earlier: 13.6
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

Along with its summers, Denver’s winters are expected to warm up rapidly over the next few decades, possibly by as much as 9.1 degrees. The city’s climate is projected to more closely resemble that of cities in Texas by 2080.

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#60. Presque Isle, Maine

- Days earlier: 13.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 75° F

Although northern Maine is renowned for its frigid climate, temperatures are expected to increase by 5 to 10 degrees before the end of the century. This will likely have particularly harsh effects on the unique landscape and agricultural economy in Presque Isle.

 

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#58. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (tie)

- Days earlier: 13.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 74.31° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 91.9° F (July 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 54.9° F (September 1984)

As Philadelphia faces rising sea levels and increased risk of intense flooding, it has more to prepare for than just infrastructure damage. Tens of millions of people from surrounding cities will likely be uprooted by the coastal damage that climate change will inflict. Philadelphia, already a known sanctuary city, will face a probable influx of climate refugees.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection // Flickr

#58. Laredo, Texas (tie)

- Days earlier: 13.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 100° F

Unless the city is able to devise a plan to majorly curb its greenhouse gas emissions, Laredo faces rising temperatures and increased precipitation. It is thought that barring change, the climate may feel similar to that of Ciudad Mante, Mexico, by 2080.

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#57. Yuma/El Centro, Arizona

- Days earlier: 14.2
- Summer threshold temperature: 105° F

Yuma and El Centro will likely experience a .2-degree increase in temperature and 52% increase in precipitation over the next 60 years. As the area warms, its climate may grow similar to that of another Arizona city, Fortuna Foothills.

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Andre Carrotflower // Wikimedia Commons

#56. Clarksburg/Weston, West Virginia

- Days earlier: 14.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

An estimated 5-degree rise in temperature is probable in Clarksburg and Weston over the next four or five decades. With this regional warmth will likely come increased intensity of droughts, flooding, and storms.

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#55. Washington, D.C.

- Days earlier: 14.6
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

Already humid, Washington, D.C.’s climate may ascend to the likes of Memphis or Atlanta over the next six decades as local temperatures rise. Several organizations, including the District Department of Transportation, the Center for Clean Air Policy, and the National Capital Planning Commission, have released multiple adaptation and mitigation plans aimed at preparing the city’s transportation, buildings, and other infrastructure to withstand the change.

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#54. Prescott, Arizona

- Days earlier: 14.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

Prescott—the fifth-fastest-warming city in the United States—is facing a 10-degree increase in average temperatures within the next 70 years. At particular risk is the city’s clean water supply, which is sourced from the nearby Colorado River. Rising temperatures may soak up much of the reservoirs, while introducing contaminating microorganisms to the water that does remain.

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#53. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

- Days earlier: 14.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 69.39° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 90.2° F (July 1988)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 45° F (September 1974)

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is looking at a 5-degree increase in summer temperatures and a 7-degree increase in winter temperatures over the next 30 years alone. The area’s renowned lakes may suffer, with irregular thawing timelines and infectious algae among the risks that rising temperatures bring.

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#52. Tucson, Arizona

- Days earlier: 14.9
- Summer threshold temperature: 100° F
- Average summer temperature: 85.08° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 105.4° F (June 2013)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 64.1° F (June 1991)

Scorching Tucson may become even more so, as it is currently the third-fastest-warming city in the United States. The city’s sidewalks and paved roads have created an urban heat island, a heat entrapment the city is attempting to offset through natural and built shading structures.

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#51. Sarasota, Florida

- Days earlier: 15
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

To prepare for rising sea levels, Sarasota will likely need $3 billion worth of sea walls constructed along its coast. Fortunately, the city is actively assessing the vulnerability of its infrastructure, with its climate adaptation plan that rates various entities and their related risks of flooding, storms, and other events that will increase in intensity as the climate heats up.

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#50. Columbus, Ohio

- Days earlier: 15.2
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 71.45° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 91.1° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 50.6° F (September 1976)

Columbus’ Climate Adaptation Plan predicts rapid warmth on the horizon, with both summers and winters heating up noticeably over the coming few decades. The city will also begin to see more-frequent precipitation and intense winter storms. To prepare, the city’s transportation system and buildings are making the gradual switch to energy and emissions efficiency.

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#47. Tampa, Florida (tie)

- Days earlier: 15.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 83.12° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 93.7° F (June 1998)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 72.4° F (June 1976)

It is expected that coastal Tampa will experience anywhere from an 8-to-12-inch sea level rise by 2040, possibly even an 8.5-foot increase by 2100. As water levels increase, flooding, hurricanes, coastal erosion, and degraded water quality will all likely become chronic.

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#47. La Crosse and Eau Claire, Wisconsin (tie)

- Days earlier: 15.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

The summer climate in the La Crosse and Eau Claire area may resemble that of Kansas City within the next six decades, with a projected increase of 7.2 degrees and 8.9% precipitation in Eau Claire. To combat this, Eau Claire has taken tangible steps to increase its sustainability, including setting citywide targets of 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality for 2050.

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#47. Dubuque, Iowa (tie)

- Days earlier: 15.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 68.22° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 89.9° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 46.6° F (September 1989)

Dubuque has already seen its climate fluctuate noticeably over the past few years, with an observed increase in temperature and precipitation by 60% across multiple seasons. In the next three decades, heat waves, flooding, and possibly wildfires may become more common as the city temperatures rise by around 11 degrees. The city is currently developing a concrete plan to deliver on its goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.

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#46. Tulsa, Oklahoma

- Days earlier: 15.6
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 79.21° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 103° F (July 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 55.4° F (September 1974)

As Tulsa comes to terms with an increased likelihood of flooding due to climate change, the city’s mitigation strategy largely centers around construction. Regulations have been implemented to prevent buildings from popping up in parts of the city vulnerable to the flooding of the Arkansas River.

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#44. Sioux City, Iowa (tie)

- Days earlier: 15.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 70.58° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 94.7° F (July 1974)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 43.8° F (September 1974)

Sioux City can expect an 8-degree increase in temperature over the next six or so decades. Along with the heat will come a rise in aridity, likely causing the city’s climate to resemble that of cities to the southwest in Oklahoma.

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#44. Eugene, Oregon (tie)

- Days earlier: 15.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 64.55° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 89.2° F (August 2017)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 42.6° F (September 1999)

Eugene may warm by 3 to 9 degrees before the end of the century, setting off a slew of effects including drought, floods, reduced snowfall, and increased wildfire risk. Overall, the city can expect an intensification of all extremes, with hotter and drier summers, wetter and colder winters, and an increase in erratic weather events across all seasons.

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#43. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

- Days earlier: 15.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 69.01° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 88.3° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 50.6° F (September 1974)

In June 2019, the city government in Milwaukee announced a resolution to create green infrastructure jobs and entirely eradicate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. City leaders expressed recognition of many of the climate change effects that will likely hit the area in the coming decades, including reduced air quality and more-intense storms.

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#41. Springfield, Missouri (tie)

- Days earlier: 16.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 75.76° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 98.7° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 52.2° F (September 1974)

Springfield has experienced more than 40% less snow in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue as the city’s average temperatures warm. When snowfall rates lower, rainfall increases, which can be problematic. Flooding has already caused considerable damage in the area, with steadily increasing precipitation rates destroying agricultural and residential land multiple times in past decades.

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#41. Beaumont, Texas (tie)

- Days earlier: 16.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

Tropical Storm Imelda, which brought 43.39 inches of flooding and damage to Beaumont in September 2019, turned out to be a harbinger of the climate to come. Southeast Texas is now one of the most precipitation-heavy regions in the country, a trend that is expected to continue as climate change intensifies—likely introducing more flash floods and infrastructural strain to the city.

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#40. St. Louis, Missouri

- Days earlier: 16.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 76.62° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 99.4° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 53.8° F (September 1974)

Although summer is coming earlier to St. Louis, it is the winter that is warming most rapidly, as the city’s average temperature is expected to gain 2 degrees overall in the next 10 years. By 2030, intense rainfall, storms, and flooding will likely become common—a particularly stark threat to the city’s many aging low-lying bridges.

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#38. Nashville, Tennessee (tie)

- Days earlier: 16.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 77.02° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 101.3° F (July 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 55.3° F (September 1981)

Nashville has set lofty goals to combat against the onset of climate change. In December 2019, Mayor John Cooper announced a series of plans intended to keep the city from warming even more rapidly. Among these are decreasing the city government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050; installing solar panels atop Nashville’s courthouse; and creating a city Sustainability Advisory.

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#38. Louisville, Kentucky (tie)

- Days earlier: 16.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 76.26° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 96.1° F (August 2007)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 55.4° F (September 1974)

Louisville has already been feeling the effects of climate change within its city borders, with patterns of more-intense precipitation, heat, and flooding all witnessed over the past few years. To guard against these events worsening, the city has joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in setting targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades. The city has already sketched out a climate adaptation plan.

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#37. Topeka, Kansas

- Days earlier: 16.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 75.76° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 101.5° F (July 1980)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 49.8° F (September 1974)

Over the past 10 years, Topeka has experienced billions of dollars worth of damage as statewide temperatures have risen. Proposals for mitigating future damage have included greenhouse gas entrapment in farming, sustainable electricity use, and transforming state-funded buildings into energy-efficient ones, but unfortunately, none of these initiatives have been able to gain traction with local government.

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#36. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

- Days earlier: 17.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average Summer temperature: 80.65° F
- Highest recorded Summer temperature: 96.8° F (August 2011)
- Lowest recorded Summer temperature: 63.8° F (September 1975)

Baton Rouge—which sits only around 3 feet above sea level—has already experienced significant flooding as sea levels have risen over the past decades, so much so that the Morganza Spillway was opened for only the second time in history during heavy rainfall in 2011. Nuisance flooding and coastline erosion are expected to intensify as water levels continue to increase.

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#35. North Platte, Nebraska

- Days earlier: 17.6
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 70.29° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 98.9° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 40.2° F (September 1974)

In North Platte, the city’s Natural Resource District is updating infrastructure and developing groundwater management techniques to mitigate future climate intensities. The area will likely be the recipient of more-frequent precipitation, accompanied by possible floods and storm events.

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#34. Harrisonburg, Virginia

- Days earlier: 17.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

Located along the Shenandoah River, Harrisonburg is likely to see a doubling in temperature, rain, and drought by 2050. The simultaneous threat of drought and flood will likely damage the area’s significant agricultural industry.

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#33. Medford, Oregon

- Days earlier: 17.9
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 70.22° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 96.1° F (July 2013)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 43.8° F (September 1972)

Medford was no stranger to increased instances of wildfire at the beginning of this century, but those events are likely to bring new risks to the area as they intensify in coming years. It is thought that summers will become drier and air will become smokier in Medford. Additionally, the city may begin to see frequent smoke waves, a term used to describe the air after several days of being polluted by wildfire emissions.

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Anthony Acosta // Wikimedia Commons

#32. McAllen, Texas

- Days earlier: 18.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F

McAllen holds the distinction of being the city with the largest increase in 90-plus degrees to 105-plus degrees heat index days annually. As the average of the latter climbs to 40 days a year by 2050, the city may start to experience spells in which the climate resembles that of the Sonoran Desert. Days with a heat index of 127 degrees or more may begin to occur, not only during the summer, but also during the fall and spring.

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#31. Shreveport, Louisiana

- Days earlier: 18.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F
- Average summer temperature: 81.06° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 104.4° F (August 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 61.9° F (September 1975)

Temperatures are rising more quickly in Shreveport than in other parts of the state. Instances of drought have already become more frequent in the city and are expected to increase in the future, along with the risk of flash flooding, wildfires, and hurricanes.

You may also like: Fastest-warming cities in the U.S.

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#30. Omaha, Nebraska

- Days earlier: 18.9
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 73.51° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 97.8° F (July 1974)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 46.4° F (September 1974)

As its climate warms, Omaha is at particular risk of increased droughts, similar to the dangerous period it underwent in late 2012. Accordingly, the city’s danger mitigation plans have focused on stormwater retention and treatment, including developing rain gardens, watershed protection systems, and waste composting.

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jim simonson // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Rockford, Illinois (tie)

- Days earlier: 19
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 70.05° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 92.8° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 47.5° F (September 1976)

The Rockford area has already experienced significant increases in precipitation rates and heavy storms over the past century; within the next four decades, the city may see a 500% increase in the frequency of 100-year flood events. The impacts of these events will likely include contamination of the city’s water supply, strains on the sewer system, and possibly an ensuing outbreak of illness.

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GPA Photo Archive // Flickr

#27. Lafayette, Indiana (tie)

- Days earlier: 19
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

Many aspects of life in Lafayette—including the water supply, public health, and city infrastructure—will be negatively impacted as the city experiences warmer temperatures and more intense precipitation. To mitigate these threats, the city began discussing plans in January 2020 to reduce carbon emissions.

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#27. Chattanooga, Tennessee (tie)

- Days earlier: 19
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 77.98° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 97.8° F (July 1993)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 56.9° F (September 1984)

An earlier arrival is not the only change that Chattanooga’s summers are undergoing. Within the next 60 years, it is expected that summer in the city will also grow warmer by 4.2 degrees and rainier by 39.8%.

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#26. Grand Rapids, Michigan

- Days earlier: 19.2
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 68.63° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 91.1° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 47.1° F (September 1974)

Situated within the Great Lakes region, Grand Rapids is particularly vulnerable to contamination of its water supply as precipitation and storms increase due to warming temperatures. Luckily, the city’s government has been proactive in mitigating these threats, outlining strategies to minimize waste, reduce carbon emissions, and protect local water reservoirs.

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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Eureka, California

- Days earlier: 19.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 65° F
- Average summer temperature: 56.72° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 68.8° F (August 2019)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 46.6° F (June 1991)

Within Humboldt Bay, Eureka is facing a 1.4 meter, or about a 55-inch, sea level rise in the coming decades, which could flood the local wastewater treatment plant along with thousands of homes. The city is currently examining ways in which preserving coastal wetlands and allowing them to shift inland could guard the city against heavy floods.

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Robert Nunnally // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Tyler, Texas

- Days earlier: 19.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F

Tyler has a particularly-unique signifier that climate change’s effects are ramping up in the area: freshwater mussels. As water temperatures warm by around 9 degrees by 2050, mussel populations will be unable to withstand the change. As this species acts as a natural filter for many bacteria, this could put Tyler’s citizens at risk of unhealthy water quality.

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#22. Waterloo, Iowa (tie)

- Days earlier: 20.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 69.17° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 92.2° F (July 2012)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 45.1° F (September 1974)

To counter the rising temperatures the city has experienced, Waterloo’s city government set plans to create an emission reduction strategy in January 2020. Working through the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education, the city hopes to achieve net zero carbon emissions within the next 30 years.

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OHWiki at wts q373 // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Mansfield, Ohio (tie)

- Days earlier: 20.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

This past year set a grim precedent for Mansfield’s climate future, as the city saw a dramatic increase in tornadoes during the spring. As the climate continues to warm, causing stark contrasts in temperatures, the annual tornado rate is likely to rise.

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Saginaw Future Inc. // Flickr

#21. Saginaw, Michigan

- Days earlier: 20.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

The Saginaw area has already warmed by 2.3 degrees over the past century, and may start to resemble a more-southern state’s climate by 2050. This will likely cause swings in water levels, with flooding likely in cooler months and semi-drought in warmer months. Additionally, an intense increase in cold and snow is likely to characterize future winters in Saginaw.

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#20. Salinas, California

- Days earlier: 20.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 70° F

Salinas is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, which, combined with increased precipitation rates, has already caused significant flooding in the area. Over 8,000 acres of land used for agriculture are perhaps most at risk, with at least $2 million worth of crop losses resulting from 2014 floods.

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#19. San Antonio, Texas

- Days earlier: 20.9
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F
- Average summer temperature: 82.82° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 101.5° F (August 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 64.1° F (September 1974)

As temperatures climb in San Antonio, the city may go from an average of 29 days annually that exceed 100 degrees to 97 days. The city is bracing itself for this extreme heat by preparing both its water system and electrical grid for the likely influx of drought and energy drains.

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#18. Youngstown, Ohio

- Days earlier: 21.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F

Snowfall has increased by 30 inches over the past 50 years in Youngstown, despite winters growing steadily warmer and shorter. This is due to lake effect snow that occurs as temperatures rise in the Great Lakes. The heat keeps ice from forming while increasing evaporation, which produces snow in nearby cities like Youngstown.

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#17. Columbia, Missouri

- Days earlier: 21.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F
- Average summer temperature: 74.82° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 102.7° F (July 1980)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 52° F (September 1974)

A warming climate brings not only an earlier summer to Columbia, but also threats of storms, drought, and polluted air. The city’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan has set an 80x50 target, in which greenhouse gases will be decreased by 80% by the year 2050.

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#16. Tri-Cities, Tennessee

- Days earlier: 21.6
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

The past decade was the Tri-Cities’ wettest ever, with a significant increase in both the frequency and volume of rainfall. Besides a 38.4% increase in events of 2-inch rainfall, the city has also experienced a 1.6-degree rise in average temperature. Moving forward, Tri-Cities is at particular risk of drought events.

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#15. Lincoln, Nebraska

- Days earlier: 21.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

Higher temperatures have introduced a variety of effects over the past 10 years in Lincoln, including noticeable increases in the intensity of drought, flooding, and wildfires. Although the city government has been slow to create a strategy to guard against future disasters, the Nebraska state climatologist is working with individual cities to draft separate plans based on the unique threats to each.

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#14. Bryan/College Station, Texas

- Days earlier: 22.3
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F

In the Bryan and College Station area, residents may have noticed a vacillation between heavy precipitation and dry periods. This is largely because of the competing forces of climate change and a phenomenon known as El Niño, in which warmer temperatures over the Pacific Ocean give way to heavier precipitation and slight cooling in the two cities. While climate change warms the cities’ atmosphere and El Niño cools it, it is difficult to predict exactly how the local climate will develop in the coming decade.

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Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons

#13. San Angelo, Texas

- Days earlier: 22.6
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F

San Angelo’s already widely varying climate is expected to only grow more extreme as its temperatures warm, with a likely increase in drought, floods, wildfires, and heat waves. Multiple organizations, including Adaptation International and NOAA, are currently collaborating with the city to build rainwater harvesting systems, weather monitoring stations, and other facilities that will help the city prepare for fluctuating weather conditions.

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#12. Flint, Michigan

- Days earlier: 24.4
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 66.82° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 88.6° F (July 1988)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 45.5° F (September 1995)

Still grappling with a water crisis that began in 2014, Flint’s climate resilience strategy largely focuses on safeguarding water quality against a warming climate. The city is planning to build rain gardens, stormwater catchments, energy systems, and other infrastructure that utilize sustainability and efficiency.

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#10. San Francisco, California (tie)

- Days earlier: 24.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 70° F
- Average summer temperature: 63.46° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 81.1° F (September 1984)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 51.2° F (June 1994)

Though rising temperatures likely won’t be particularly noticeable in San Francisco for a few more decades, other byproducts of a warming climate will. The city has already faced an increase in the frequency and intensity of both drought and wildfires. These events are only expected to worsen, likely degrading the air quality in San Francisco.

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#10. Detroit, Michigan (tie)

- Days earlier: 24.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 69.76° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 86.3° F (August 2016)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 49.1° F (September 1974)

Detroit has grappled in particular with flooding as its annual temperatures rise. To combat this, the city has originated an Office of Sustainability, along with examining strategies to curb carbon emissions and predict the effects of heat on local households.

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Redraiderengineer // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Lubbock, Texas

- Days earlier: 24.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 77.04° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 100.8° F (June 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 53.2° F (September 1974)

A warmer climate has come with a variety of results in Lubbock. Besides heat waves and wildfires, higher temperatures have introduced an erratic rainfall pattern to the city—an effect that will likely impact the area’s largely agriculture-dependent economy.

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#8. Huntsville, Alabama

- Days earlier: 24.9
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 78.19° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 99.6° F (August 2007)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 57.1° F (September 1981)

Huntsville’s increasing temperatures are expected to bring a twofold effect to the area: Droughts will become more common, as well as extreme precipitation events. Overall, this will likely dry out local soil, possibly harming the city’s agricultural economy.

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#7. Austin, Texas

- Days earlier: 25.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 95° F
- Average summer temperature: 83.49° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 104.8° F (August 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 64.1° F (September 1974)

Austin numbers ninth in Climate Central’s ranking of cities that have experienced increases in 90 degrees or higher days over the past four decades. Days of this temperature or higher are expected to occur two to five times more often by 2050, increases that will likely be accompanied by more-frequent precipitation and wildfires.

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#6. Erie, Pennsylvania

- Days earlier: 26.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 80° F
- Average summer temperature: 68.68° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 85.4° F (July 2011)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 52.1° F (September 1974)

As temperatures rise annually in Erie, the area’s agricultural industry faces threats to its well-being, including flood risk, increases in invasive pests, and fluctuating temperatures. In 2019, Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf announced plans to reduce the state’s carbon emissions by 80% over the next three decades.

You may also like: Fastest-warming states in the U.S.

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#5. Jackson, Idaho

- Days earlier: 27.1
- Summer threshold temperature: 85° F

From its position along the Snake River in southern Idaho, Jackson receives less precipitation than northern cities. As the area continues to warm, however, the lowest elevation at which the snowpack reliably accumulates throughout the winter will increase, likely bringing influxes in spring and winter precipitation—and risks of flooding—to the city.

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#4. Augusta, Georgia

- Days earlier: 27.8
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 79.71° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 100.2° F (July 1993)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 58.7° F (September 1981)

In Augusta, temperatures are expected to climb by 8.4 degrees in the summer by 2070, as well as by 5.6 degrees in the winter. As the city warms, precipitation will likely rise 1 inch during both the summer and winter within the same time frame.

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#3. Fort Smith, Arkansas

- Days earlier: 28.7
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F

Heavy rains have already caused the Arkansas River to swell in Fort Smith. As the city’s temperatures rise, precipitation is expected to increase, making already-common floods more intense and damaging.

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#2. Miami, Florida

- Days earlier: 31.6
- Summer threshold temperature: 90° F
- Average summer temperature: 83.20° F
- Highest recorded summer temperature: 92.5° F (June 1998)
- Lowest recorded summer temperature: 73.7° F (June 1972)

Miami is slated to become “the most vulnerable major coastal city in the world” as its climate heats up, according to Resources for the Future. Its greatest threat is sea-level rise, which could advance 8 to 12 inches in the next two decades. Coastal erosion, high-wind storms, and 100-year floods may all become relatively common occurrences in the coming years.

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Harold Litwiler // Flickr

#1. Santa Maria, California

- Days earlier: 34.5
- Summer threshold temperature: 75° F

Santa Maria may experience as much as a 4-degree rise in temperature and a 40% increase in dryness by 2080. After declaring the area in a state of climate emergency, the local government has adopted aggressive measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and increase its use of renewable energy.

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