Terry’s Take: July climate highlights

Posted on: 10:35 pm, August 22, 2013, by

Terry Swails Weather Blog

The month of July was cool and dry locally. Other parts of the country experienced dramatically different conditions. Here is a summary of the nations weather for the month of July 2013.


  • Climate Highlights — July
  • The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 74.3, 0.8 above the 20th century average, and ranked as the 30th warmest such month on record.
  • The western U.S. was warmer than average, where Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah each had a top ten warm month. Several cities, including Salt Lake City, Utah, and Reno, Nev., had their warmest July on record. Seven states across the Northeast also had July temperatures ranking among the ten warmest on record, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, each of which had a record warm July.
  • Locations from the Central and Southern Plains into the Southeast— had July temperatures that were among the ten coolest on record.
  • The Alaska statewide average temperature was 1.7°F above the 1971-2000 average and ranked as the fifth warmest July on record for the state. Anchorage had its fourth warmest July, and the city set a record with 14 consecutive days above 70°F.
  • The nationally-averaged July precipitation total of 3.47 inches was 0.71 inch above average and was the 5th wettest July on record for the contiguous United States.
  • Wetter than average conditions stretched from California, through the Southwest and Plains, and along the Eastern Seaboard. In the Southwest, seasonal monsoonal flow brought above average precipitation to several states, where Arizona and California both had July precipitation totals ranking among their ten wettest. During this time of year in parts of the Southwest, even light precipitation can result in above-average monthly totals but have minimal impacts on alleviating drought conditions.
  • In the East, 13 states had one of their ten wettest July’s on record, with the highest precipitation totals across the Southeast. Florida had its wettest July on record, with 12.38 inches of rainfall, 4.91 inches above average. The above-average precipitation in the Southeast resulted in widespread flooding and significant damage to crops.
  • The Northwest was particularly dry. Oregon had its driest July on record with only 0.03 inch of rainfall accumulating, 0.41 inch below average. Washington had its eighth driest July. Below average precipitation was also observed in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, where Iowa had its tenth driest July.
  • According to the July 30 U.S. Drought Monitor report, 45.6 percent of the contiguous U.S experienced drought conditions, up slightly from the beginning of July. Drought remained entrenched throughout much of the West and in parts of the Central and Southern Plains, and drought expanded into parts of the Lower Mississippi River Valley and Midwest. Over 20 percent of Alaska was in drought at the end of July, with severe drought developing in central parts of the state.
  • Based on NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during July was above average and ranked as the 41st highest July value in the 119-year period of record.
  • The components of the U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) that examine extremes in warm night time temperatures, the spatial extent of wetness and drought, and extremes in days with rainfall were all above average. When combined with the other components of the index, the USCEI, as a whole, was only slightly above average. The USCEI is an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, tropical cyclones, and drought across the contiguous United States.
  • On a local basis, the number of record warm daily highs and lows (2560) during July was roughly the same as the number of record cool daily highs and lows (2846), although there were slightly more cool records.
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