Ag Weather Forum

Mixed July Temperatures

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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Most of the central U.S. had near to below-normal temperatures in July, with record warmth in the west and well-above-normal conditions in the south and northeast. (NCEI graphic)

July 2018 turned out to be very similar in temperatures across the U.S. to 20 years ago, in July 1998. The interior of the contiguous U.S. east of the Rockies had, in general, seasonal temperatures. But where it was hot, it was really hot. Here are highlights from the National Centers for Environmental Information July 2018 U.S. Climate Report. The full report is at this link: https://goo.gl/…

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The July 2018 contiguous U.S. temperature was 75.5 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.9 degrees F above the 20th century average. This tied with 1998 as the 11th warmest July on record. Above average July temperatures stretched from the West Coast to the Rockies, through the South and into parts of the Northeast.

Seventeen states had July temperatures that were much-above average, including California which was record warm. The monthly average July temperature for Death Valley, California, was 108.1 F, making it the hottest monthly temperature on record for any station in the world, according to NCEI's data holdings. This surpassed the record of 107.4 F set just last July in 2017 at Death Valley.

The warm and dry conditions across the West created ideal wildfire conditions. Numerous large and destructive fires burned across the region with many continuing to burn into August. These included, but were not limited to:

-- The Spring Creek Fire in Colorado burned over 108,000 acres and destroyed 251 homes. This was the third largest wildfire on record for Colorado.

-- The Carr Fire in California burned over 164,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 residences and was responsible for at least seven fatalities. This marks the sixth most destructive fire in terms of property loss on record for California.

-- The Ferguson Fire in California burned over 94,300 acres, was responsible for at least two fatalities and forced the closure of parts of Yosemite National Park.

-- The Mendocino Complex Fire in California burned over 283,800 acres and marked the largest wildfire on record for the state, surpassing the Thomas Fire that burned 281,000 acres in late 2017.

Near-to-below-average temperatures stretched from the Great Plains into parts of the Midwest and Southeast. In the central U.S., maximum temperatures, or afternoon highs, were particularly cool during July. Above-average precipitation in parts of the region contributed to the below-average temperatures.

The contiguous U.S. average maximum (daytime) temperature during July was 88.3 F, 1.6 degrees F above the 20th century average, marking the 19th warmest value on record. Much-above-average maximum temperatures were observed across the West, Southern Plains and Northeast. Below-average maximum temperatures stretched form the Central and Northern Plains, through the Midwest and into parts of the Southeast.

The contiguous U.S. average minimum (nighttime) temperature during July was 62.7 F, 2.2 degrees F above the 20th century average, marking the eighth-warmest value on record. Above-average minimum temperatures spanned the nation with record and much-above-average minimum temperatures across the West, South and northeast. California, Nevada and Utah had record warm July minimum temperatures. Near-to-below-average minimum temperatures were observed in the Great Plains and parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic.

During July there were 5,532 record warm daily high (1,945) and low (3,587) temperature records, which was more than five times the 943 record cold daily high (476) and low (467) temperature records.

Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during July was 87% above average and tied with July 1936 as the 10th highest value in the 124-year period of record.

PRECIPITATION

The July precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 2.80 inches, 0.02 inch above average, and ranked near the middle value in the 124-year period of record.

Above-average precipitation was observed across parts of the Southwest, Great Plains and along the East Coast. In the Southwest, an active monsoon season brought heavy thunderstorms to the region. In the East, record and near-record precipitation was observed for much of Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland. Pennsylvania had its wettest July on record with 7.37 inches of precipitation, 3.18 inches above average. Maryland had its second wettest July with 8.73 inches, 4.55 inches above average.

Below-average precipitation fell across much of the Northwest and in parts of the northern to central Rockies, Midwest and South. Idaho tied its sixth-driest July on record with just 0.24 inch of precipitation, 0.59 inch below average.

JAN-JULY STATEWIDE TEMPERATURE RANKS

For the year-to-date, the national temperature was 53.1 F, 1.9 degrees F above average, also the 11th-warmest on record. Of note, the last three month-period, May-through-July, ranked as the warmest such period on record with a national temperature of 70.9 F, 3.4 degrees F above average. This surpassed the previous record of 70.6 F in 1934.

Above-average January-to-July temperatures were observed across the West, Southern Plains, East Coast and much of the Midwest. Nine states in the West and South had much-above-average year-to-date temperatures, including Arizona and New Mexico which were record warm. The Arizona statewide average temperature was 62.7 F, 4.0 degrees F above average, and the New Mexico temperature was 56.5 F, 3.9 degrees F above average. Near-to-below-average temperatures were observed in the north-central contiguous U.S.

The contiguous U.S. average maximum (daytime) temperature during January-to-July was 65.2 F, 2.0 degrees F above the 20th century average, marking the 11th warmest value on record. Much-above-average maximum temperatures were observed across the West, Southern Plains and parts of the Northeast. Arizona and New Mexico had record warm maximum temperatures. Below-average maximum temperatures stretched across the Northern Plains.

The contiguous U.S. average minimum (nighttime) temperature during January-to-July was 41.1 F, 1.8 degrees F above the 20th century average, marking the 15th warmest value on record. Above-average minimum temperatures were observed across much of the West and the East with near- to-below-average conditions across parts of the Northern and Central Plains and the Upper Midwest.

Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during January-to-July was near average age and ranked near the median value in the 124-year period of record.

PRECIPITATION

The year-to-date precipitation total for the Lower 48 was 18.65 inches, 0.56 inch above average, and ranked near the middle value in the record.

Above-average precipitation was observed in the Northern Plains, Midwest and along parts of the East Coast. Record precipitation was observed across parts of the mid-Atlantic, where Pennsylvania was record wet with 34.08 inches of precipitation, 9.01 inches above average. Six additional states in the East were also much wetter than average including Maryland and West Virginia which had their second wettest year-to-date.

Below-average precipitation was observed for locations across the West and Southern to Central Plains. Colorado had its 12th driest year-to-date on record with 8.79 inches of precipitation, 2.38 inches below average.

EXTREMES

The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for the year-to-date was 30% above average and ranked as the 20th-highest value in the 109-year period of record. This was the smallest January-to-July USCEI since 2013.

On the national scale, extremes in warm minimum and maximum temperatures and one-day precipitation totals were much above average. On the regional scale, the Southwest had a record high CEI value for the year-to-date due to elevated extremes in warm maximum and minimum temperatures, the spatial extent of dry conditions and one-day precipitation totals.

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Bryce Anderson can be reached at Bryce.anderson@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @BAndersonDTN

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10/22/2018 | 11:19 AM CDT
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