The State of the Climate Summary Information is a synopsis of the collection of national and global summaries released each month.
National Summary Information - July 2014
Contiguous US had a cooler and drier than average July
Record and near-record cool temperatures were observed in the Midwest and parts of the South, while warmth persists in the West.
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 73.3°F, 0.3°F below the 20th century average, ranking near the middle value in the 120-year period of record. This was the coolest July for the Lower-48 since 2009. The July national precipitation total was 2.55 inches, 0.23 inch below the 20th century average, marking the 26th driest July on record.
Significant climate events for July 2014.
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Note: The July Monthly Climate Report for the United States has several pages of supplemental information and data regarding some of the exceptional events from the month, season, and year-to-date.
Major climate events NOAA is closely monitoring:
- Persisting and intensifying drought in parts of the West and Great Plains: Despite recent drought relief in the Central and Southern Plains, long-term drought conditions will continue to impact water resources and agriculture. Long-term and short-term drought conditions in the West will also increase wildfire risk. More information is available from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
- El Niño still probable later this year: According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, there is a 65 percent chance, down from last month, of at least a weak El Niño developing this upcoming autumn or winter. El Niño conditions could have impacts on temperature and precipitation patterns across the U.S. More information is available from the Climate Prediction Center.
- North American Monsoon: In the Southwest, southerly, moist winds associated with the seasonal monsoon could increase the chances of precipitation during the remainder of the summer. Heavy precipitation can lead to localized flash flooding and more widespread short-term drought relief.
U.S. climate highlights: July 2014
- Below-average temperatures stretched from the Midwest, through the Mississippi River Valley and into parts of the Southeast, where 13 states had one of their 10 coolest Julys on record. Arkansas and Indiana each had their coolest July on record. The Arkansas average temperature was 75.7°F, 4.6°F below the 20th century average, dipping below the previous record cold July that occurred in 1967. The Indiana average temperature was 69.2°F, 5.3°F below the 20th century average, slightly cooler than the previous record cold July of 2009.
- Above-average temperatures were observed from the Intermountain West to the Pacific Coast. Six states had one of their 10 warmest Julys on record, but no state was record warm for the month. The above-average temperatures, combined with long-term dryness, created ideal wildfire conditions across the West, where numerous large wildfires charred hundreds of thousands of acres during July.
- Much of Alaska was warmer than average during July, especially along the western Gulf of Alaska coast and the Alaska Peninsula. Cold Bay had its warmest month of any month on record, with an average temperature of 55.8°F. Above-average precipitation was observed across interior regions of the state and the Alaska Panhandle, where Fairbanks and Juneau both had their second wettest July on record.
- Precipitation totals were mixed across the country during July. Above-average precipitation was observed in parts of the West, Southwest, Southern Plains, and the Northeast. In the Southern Plains, drought-stricken Wichita Falls, Texas saw its third wettest July on record and wettest since 1950. In the West, enhanced monsoonal flow boosted monthly precipitation totals from New Mexico to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the Northeast, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire each had one of their 10 wettest Julys on record.
- Below-average precipitation was observed across the northern tier of the country, parts of the Central Plains, Midwest and the Southeast. South Dakota had its sixth driest July, while Alabama had its ninth driest.
July Significant Events
- Hurricane Arthur formed off the coast of South Carolina on July 1. The storm moved northward, making landfall July 3 near Beaufort, North Carolina with winds of 100 mph (Category 2). The largest impacts from Arthur were the storm surge along the Outer Banks and heavy precipitation from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast. Arthur was the first hurricane since August 2012 to make landfall in the contiguous U.S. and marked the earliest hurricane on record to make landfall in North Carolina.
- In mid-July, moisture from the remnant of Tropical Storm Wali interacted with an upper level trough to bring heavy precipitation to parts of the Hawaiian Islands. Over a foot of rain was observed on Oahu during a 12-hour period spanning July 19 and 20. Flash flooding and record stream flows were reported on the island causing property damage and highway closures.
- According to the July 29 U.S. Drought Monitor report, 34.1 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, nearly the same compared with the beginning of July. Both improvement and degradation of drought conditions occurred on the regional scale.
- Drought conditions worsened across the West, where above-average temperatures dried soils. In California, the percent area of the state experiencing exceptional drought, the worst category, expanded to 58.4 percent, up nearly 22 percent since early July. Drought also worsened in parts of the Ohio Valley, Southeast, and coastal regions of the Northeast where record low July river volumes were measured. In Puerto Rico, abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions expanded to nearly 60 percent of the island.
- Drought conditions improved in parts of the Southern Rockies and Southern Plains, where beneficial rainfall fell during July. Parts of the Central Appalachians also saw improving drought conditions.
U.S. climate highlights: year-to-date (January–July) 2014
- The contiguous U.S. average temperature for the first seven months of 2014 was 51.3°F, near the 20th century average but also the coldest first seven months of any year since 1993.
- Below-average temperatures were observed from the Great Plains to the East Coast, with the largest departures from average across the Midwest, through the Mississippi River Valley, and along parts of the Gulf Coast. Eleven states had a top 10 cold year-to-date. No state was record cold for the January-July period.
- Above-average temperatures were observed in the West, where six states had a top 10 warm year-to-date. California was record warm, with an average temperature of 60.9°F, 4.6°F above the 20th century average. This topped the previous record warm January-July of 1934 by 1.4°F.
- The national precipitation total for the January-July period was 17.88 inches, just 0.21 inch below the 20th century average. However, some regions were much wetter than average, while others were drier than average.
- Below-average precipitation stretched from the West, through the Great Basin and Southern Rockies, and into the Southern Plains. Arizona had its sixth driest year-to-date on record, with 50 percent of average precipitation.
- Above-average precipitation was observed in the Upper Midwest, the Northeast, and parts of the Pacific Northwest and Gulf Coast. Minnesota had its fifth wettest January-July on record with 130 percent of average precipitation.
- The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for January-July was 170 percent of average, and the seventh largest USCEI on record for the year-to-date. The spatial extent of one-day precipitation extremes was the fifth highest on record, while the percent area of the contiguous U.S. in drought was also much above average. The percent area of the country experiencing extremes in both warm and cool daytime and nighttime temperatures was also above average, reflecting the dominant warm-west/cold-east pattern entrenched throughout the year. The USCEI is an index that tracks extremes (falling in the upper or lower 10 percent of the record) in temperature, precipitation, drought, and land-falling tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S.