“2016, 2017 these years will both be remembered as being among the warmest on record for the Rio Grande Valley,” said Barry Goldsmith, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
Harlingen and Port Mansfield had its hottest year on record, with an average temperature of 77.1 and 75.6 degrees, respectively in 2017.
While McAllen and Rio Grande City tied with 2016’s heat record.
The recent cold the Valley has experienced, including the rare occasion of snow, evened things out.
“Those cold snaps came and what the cold snaps we’ve actually dropped that value back a bit,” Goldsmith said.
The National Weather Service has seen a number of all-time records or top five records of heat this century, and climate change could be one explanation.
“There’s still more data that we need to collect to make an observation and say how much is related to climate change and how much is related to these other atmospheric puzzle pieces fitting together,” he said.
It will be years before the National Weather Service can determine how much a contribution global climate change is making towards the record breaking heat.
“We are seeing a trend, so we can’t deny that’s happening,” Goldsmith said. “But exactly the contribution, we just need more data and that would be a few decades.”