Hot leftovers on a cool day

Despite a refreshingly cool interval that looks to last into next week, the legacy of a record summer is evident on parched lawns and in the crisp, fallen leaves all over the region.

The drought watch in New Jersey -- and Pennsylvania may soon follow suit -- is not only a function of the lack of rain, which is becoming a major issue, but also the summer's almost tireless heat.

This was more than a local phenomenon, of course.

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration determined that nationwide this was the fourth-warmest summer on record; the warmest in the Northeast in the last 116 years. Here is the NOAA report.

Based on the satellite data analyzed by NASA's John Christy at the University of Alabama and Roy Spencer, June, July and August all came in as the second-warmest worldwide in the last three decades.  

NOAA also computed that given the heat in population centers, the summer set a new record for temperature-related energy demand.

One other summer tidbit worth noting: The official high at Philadelphia International Airport hit 91, the 53rd time it has reached at least 90 this year.

That ties the record set in 1991, and as previously noted, it would be a huge upset if 1991 holds on to a first-place tie. Those 90-plus readings are common deep into September and one has occurred as late as Oct. 10.

By the way, given all the heat this summer you may have a hard time recalling when it was this cool.

The answer: Two weeks ago.