Griping about the sultry summertime weather is a favorite pastime in Dallas. And the thermometer gives us plenty of ammo for grumbling: As is typical during the summer months, the mercury in Dallas-Fort Worth is currently hovering in the triple digits.
But if the weather forecast doesn’t provide enough reason to escape to air-conditioned confines, here’s another: Among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, Dallas ranks third for the hottest summer weather. That’s according to the first-ever Sperling Heat Index. Bert Sperling, the brainchild behind the index, is well-known for various city and demographic rankings.
Here's the lowdown on Dallas heat:
- Average high temperature: 94.9 degrees
- Nighttime low temperature: 73.1 degrees
- Realtive humidity: 41 percent
Houston and Austin are technically cooler than Dallas, though they both have higher humidity levels.
With all of those numbers combined, drought-stricken Dallas ranks 92.4 on the Sperling Heat Index, with 100 being the highest possible score. Of all the large cities in America, Dallas is second only to Phoenix and Las Vegas in terms of straight heat.
According to NPR’s StateImpact Texas, the Lone Star State has heated up even more than usual recently. Four of the five warmest years on record in Texas have occurred since 2006.
But it's all relative. If you think Dallas is scorching during the summer, head to Yuma, Arizona, which stands atop the heat index. Average high temperature in the summer: 106.7. Yuma’s total score on the index: 99.9.
Among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, Texas lays claim to only four spots. Of course, they are all in the top 10: Dallas (No. 3), Houston (No. 4), Austin (No.5) and San Antonio (No. 6).
The Sperling Heat Index claims its summertime weather measurement is unique because it includes nighttime low temperatures. “Nighttime heat is especially bad,” said Eli Jacks, chief of fire and public weather services at the National Weather Service, “because your body never has a chance to recover.”