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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate-Watch, July 1999

National Climatic Data Center - August 26, 1999
Comparative Climatic Data publication
Averages/Normals for Nearly 300 U.S. Cities


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This month in the "Climate Watch" report we focus on a popular NCDC publication, Comparative Climatic Data. These data tables of meteorological elements outline the climatic conditions at major weather observing stations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Pacific Islands with stations listed alphabetically by state. The tables are arranged so that values of the same element can be compared for different locations by use of a single table. Some weather stations do not regularly report various elements and will therefore not be listed in the table for that element. There are 17 climatological tables available, and one of current interest is Mean Number of Days With Maximum Temperature 90 Degrees F or Higher. These tables are useful in comparing current climate conditions against the long term conditions to see if current climate events are unusual. You can also access Global Measured Extremes of Temperatures and Precipitation, along with Climate Extremes and Weather Events, as tools in comparing climatic events. Each of these systems should be helpful in putting current climate and weather events into historical prespective.

Looking at extreme events this month, in the U.S., July started out sizzling with 95 - 100+ degrees F temperatures in northeastern U.S. cities like Philadelphia and New York. Summertime rains and thunderstorms brought some relief to drought conditions in parts of the south and east, but drought became a more severe problem by the end of July. In particular, the mid-Atlantic region is in moderate to severe drought, with crops and cattle being severely affected. Portions of six states have now been declared agricultural disaster areas -- Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

For the latest on the drought, see:
NCDC's Drought in the U.S.
U.S. Palmer Drought Index Map
U.S. Crop Moisture Index Map

The latter half of July produced a heat wave over much of the eastern two-thirds of the country, with maximum temperatures in the 90's - 100's over wide areas. For details on the heat across the midwestern portion of the nation, see a special report "The Nature and Impacts of the July 1999 Heat Wave in the Midwest" , by the Midwest Climate Center. Heat indices of over 110 F were common across portions of the southern and central plains and the coastal plains of the southeast. Charleston, SC experienced a minimum temperature of 85 F on the 29th. As of August 3, 256 heat-related deaths have been reported nationwide. Even so, heat-related deaths tend to be lower than in past years as many cities and states have instituted special programs to mitigate the effects of heat waves. In contrast, the west has experienced unusually heavy monsoon rains. Las Vegas was hit by up to 3 inches of rain in thunderstorms in a few hours, resulting in severe flooding and 2 fatalities.

Globally, drought conditions are causing problems across portions of western Russia with predicted shortfalls in grain production. In the Middle East, in Iran, the worst drought in 30 years has destroyed more than a quarter of the country's wheat and rice crops. Drought is also quite severe across portions of North Korea, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Spain this month. Flooding is a problem in parts of China along the Yangtze River, across southern Japan, and in portions of Romania.

Other global highlights for July 1999 can be found at NOAA/OGP Special Global Summary for July 1999.

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Top of Page Selected U.S. City and State Extremes

The Selected U.S. City and State Extremes gives a listing of new records that were set across the U.S. during July 1999.

Top of Page Additional Resources

NCDC- The Climate of 1999
NCDC Climatic Extremes and Weather Events
NCDC Publications and Reports
Links to Numerous Natural Disaster Web Sites
National Drought Mitigation Center- U.S.
Disaster Relief Agency (news reports and information)
NOAA/OGP Special Global Summary for July 1999

blue bar For further information, contact:

Tom Ross
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
phone:828-271-4499
fax: 828-271-4328
email: tom.ross@noaa.gov
Specific requests for climatic data should be addressed to: ncdc.orders@noaa.gov

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