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NCDC Releases July 2012 U.S. Monthly Climate Report

Credit: NOAA -

According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous United States during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the Nation. The previous warmest July for the Nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the Nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.

Higher-than-average temperatures engulfed much of the contiguous United States during July, with the largest temperature departures from the 20th century average occurring across most of the Plains, the Midwest, and along the Eastern Seaboard. Virginia had its warmest July on record, with a statewide temperature 4.0°F above average. In total, 32 states had July temperatures among their ten warmest, with seven states having their second warmest July on record.

Drier-than-average conditions also continued across the Central Plains and the Midwest during July. Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri had July precipitation totals ranking among their ten driest. Maine had its fifth driest July on record. However, an active storm pattern in the Southwest contributed to California having its fifth wettest July on record and Nevada having its eighth wettest. Wetter-than-average conditions were also observed through the rest of the Southwest, along the western Gulf Coast, and through the Ohio Valley where West Virginia had its tenth wettest July.

The warm and dry conditions over a large portion of the country were associated with ideal wildfire conditions. Over 2 million acres were burned nationwide during July due to wildfires, nearly half a million acres above average, and the fourth most on record since 2000.

This monthly analysis (summary, full report) from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business, and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.