National Climate Report - July 2015
NCEI added Alaska climate divisions to its nClimDiv dataset on Friday, March 6, 2015, coincident with the release of the February 2015 monthly monitoring report. For more information on this data, please visit the Alaska Climate Divisions FAQ.
Maps and Graphics
Temperature and Precipitation Ranks
U.S. Percentage Areas
Supplemental July 2015 Information
- Year-to-date temperature evolution for select U.S. cities
- Year-to-date precipitation evolution for select U.S. cities
- July gridded temperature maps
- July gridded precipitation maps
- July daily temperature extremes
- Alaska temperature and precipitation divisional maps
July Average Temperature Departures
July Percent of Average Precipitation
- Climate Highlights — July
- The July contiguous U.S. average temperature was 73.9°F, 0.2°F above the 20th century average and ranked near the middle in the 121-year period of record.
- The July contiguous U.S. maximum (daytime) temperature was 85.9°F, 0.8°F below average, the 34th coolest on record. The July contiguous U.S. minimum (nighttime) temperature was 61.8°F, 1.3°F above average, the 18th warmest on record.
- Above-average temperatures were observed in Alaska and the Northwest — Washington had its fourth warmest July. The Southeast was also warmer than average where Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina were all much warmer than average. Louisiana had its third warmest July on record. No state was record warm.
- Below-average mean temperatures stretched from the Great Basin, through the Central Rockies, and into the Central Plains. No state had July temperatures that were much cooler than average.
- Several cities in the Northwest had a record or near-record warm July. The average temperature in Seattle, Washington was 71.2°F, 5.5°F above normal, marking the warmest July on record for the city. July was the second consecutive month with record warmth in Seattle. Portland, Oregon had its second warmest July on record with a monthly temperature 4.7°F above normal.
- Maximum temperatures were near to below average for a large portion of the country, from the West Coast to the Midwest, where above-average precipitation suppressed daytime temperatures. Nevada had its seventh coolest July maximum temperature on record. Above-average maximum temperatures were observed in the Northwest and Southeast, where Florida and Washington had much-above average July maximum temperatures.
- Minimum temperatures were above average for a large part of the contiguous United States. Ten states in the Southeast and Northwest had much-above-average July minimum temperatures. Below-average minimum temperatures were observed in parts of the Intermountain West.
- During July, there were 3,915 record warm daily high (1,038) and low (2,877) temperature records, which is about one and a half times the 2,662 record cold daily high (2,021) and low (641) temperature records.
- Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during July was 19.2 percent above average and the 38th highest in the 1895-2015 period of record.
- In the West, California, Nevada and New Mexico were much wetter than average. California had its second wettest July on record with 0.64 inch of precipitation, 0.46 inch above average. This is the dry season for California — even small precipitation totals can cause large departures from average compared to history. In mid-July, the remnants of Hurricane Dolores impacted the state with record precipitation observed in Los Angeles and San Diego. Flash flooding caused significant impacts, including destroying a busy bridge on Interstate Highway 10. The precipitation did little to improve long-term drought conditions or improve wildfire conditions in northern parts of the state.
- Above-average precipitation was also observed in the Ohio Valley, where four states were much wetter than average. Kentucky had its wettest July on record with 8.99 inches of precipitation, 4.65 inches above average. This bested the previous record of 8.25 inches set in 1910. This is the second consecutive month with record wetness in parts of the Ohio Valley.
- Below-average precipitation was observed across parts of the Northwest, with worsening drought conditions in the region. By the beginning of August, all of Oregon and Washington was in drought, with 48 percent of Oregon in severe drought and 32 percent of Washington. Below-average precipitation was also observed across parts of the Great Lakes and Southeast. Louisiana had its ninth driest July on record.
- According to the August 4th U.S. Drought Monitor report, 27.1 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, up slightly since the end of June. Drought conditions improved across parts of the Southwest and Northeast. In the Southeast, drought improvement and degradation were mixed, with only scattered precipitation impacting the region. Drought conditions remain dire across California, with 46.0 percent of the state experiencing the worst category of drought (D4, exceptional).
- Outside of the contiguous U.S., drought conditions worsened across both Alaska and Puerto Rico. In Alaska, rains in the southern parts of the state improved drought, but drought expanded into the North Slope. Wildfires continue to ravage the dry, central regions of the state. In Puerto Rico, precipitation deficits continue to accumulate across the eastern half of the island. By early August, 20.3 percent of Puerto Rico was in extreme drought.
- Wildfires continued to burn across the West during July. In California, more than a dozen large wildfires burned, including the Rocky Fire in Lake County that charred nearly 20,000 acres and destroyed three homes. In Washington, the Douglas County Complex fire burned over 22,000 acres. In Alaska, over 700 wildfires charged nearly 5 million acres during 2015 to date. The most acreage burned during a single year in Alaska was 6.59 million acres in 2004, with the 2015 total acreage burned expected to rival the 2004 record.
- Climate Highlights — year-to-date (January–July)
- The average contiguous U.S. temperature for January-July was 53.0°F, 1.7°F above the 20th century average, and the 10th warmest year-to-date on record.
- The January-Jul y contiguous U.S. maximum (daytime) temperature was 64.7°F, 1.5°F above average, the 16th warmest on record. The January-July contiguous U.S. minimum (nighttime) temperature was 41.1F, 1.9°F above average, the 10th warmest on record.
- Above-average temperatures were observed from the Great Plains to the West Coast, as well as in the Southeast. Oregon and Washington each had their warmest year-to-date on record, with temperatures more than 5.0°F above average. Ten additional states were much warmer than average, including Alaska which had its second warmest January-July in the 91-year period of record. After a record warm first half of 2015 in California, the near-average July bumped 2015 to the second warmest year-to-date, behind 2014.
- Below-average year-to-date temperatures were observed across the Midwest and Northeast mostly due to a very cold start to the year. Maine, New York, and Vermont were each much cooler than average. For these three states, it was the coldest January-July in over 35 years with temperatures 2.0°F below average. No state was record cold for the seven-month period.
- Maximum temperatures were generally above average west of the Mississippi River and cooler than average east of the Mississippi River. Ten states in the West had much-above-average maximum temperatures — Oregon and Washington were record warm. In the East, Maine had its tenth coolest January-July maximum temperature.
- Minimum temperatures were above-average in the West, Great Plains, and Southeast. Thirteen states had much-above-average minimum temperatures, including record warmth in six western states. Minimum temperatures were below-average in the Northeast, with four states being much cooler than average.
- Based on REDTI, the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during January-July was 11.2 percent above average and the 45th highest in the 1895-2015 period of record.
- The year-to-date contiguous U.S. precipitation total was 19.71 inches, 1.62 inches above the 20th century average, the 17th wettest January-July on record and wettest since 1998.
- Above-average precipitation was observed across the Great Plains, Southern Rockies, and Midwest where eight states were much wetter than average. No state was record wet, but Oklahoma and Texas each had their second wettest January-July on record. Below-average precipitation was observed across the West, Southeast, Northeast, and parts of the Great Lakes. California had its fifth driest start to the year, while Connecticut had its seventh driest and Oregon its ninth driest.
- The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for the year-to-date was 50 percent above average and the 10th highest value on record. On the national-scale, extremes in warm maximum and minimum temperatures, one-day precipitation totals, and days with precipitation were much above average. The USCEI is an index that tracks extremes (falling in the upper or lower 10 percent of the record) in temperature, precipitation, land-falling tropical cyclones, and drought across the contiguous U.S.
- Regionally, CEI was much above average in the West, Northwest, and Southwest. The West region had its highest January-July CEI on record at 195 percent of average. Warm daytime and nighttime temperatures and the spatial extent of drought contributed to the record high CEI in the West. In the Northwest, warm daytime and nighttime temperatures and one-day precipitation totals were much above average. In the Southwest, warm nighttime temperatures and days with precipitation were much above average.
**A comparison of the national temperature departure from average as calculated by NCDC's operational dataset (nClimDiv), the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN), and the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is available on our National Temperature Index page.**
These regional summaries were provided by the six Regional Climate Centers and reflect conditions in their respective regions. These six regions differ spatially from the nine climatic regions of the National Climatic Data Center.
- Northeast Region: (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
- July wrapped up just on the cool side of normal in the Northeast. The region's average temperature of 69.3 degrees F (20.7 degrees C) was 0.3 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) below normal. Six of the 12 states were cooler than normal. Departures ranged from 1.2 degrees F (0.7 degrees C) below normal in Maine to 0.7 degrees F (0.4 degrees C) above normal in Rhode Island, the state's 19th warmest July on record.
- July wrapped up just on the cool side of normal in the Northeast. The region's average temperature of 69.3 degrees F (20.7 degrees C) was 0.3 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) below normal. Six of the 12 states were cooler than normal. Departures ranged from 1.2 degrees F (0.7 degrees C) below normal in Maine to 0.7 degrees F (0.4 degrees C) above normal in Rhode Island, the state's 19th warmest July on record.
- At the beginning of July, parts of New York, New England, and southern West Virginia (totaling 21 percent of the Northeast) were experiencing abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions. Dryness eased in many areas during the month; however, areas of abnormal dryness and moderate drought lingered in New York and New England (totaling 9 percent of the region) through the end of July.
- Severe weather struck the Northeast multiple times in July. Five tornadoes, ranging in strength from EF-0 or EF-1, touched down in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Hampshire. At least six straight-line wind events occurred during the month, along with numerous reports of funnel clouds and large hail. In addition, flash flooding caused damage in several parts of the region, with West Virginia hit particularly hard.
- For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
- Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
- The average temperature for July across northeast Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan was between 65 to 70 degrees F (18 to 21 C). Temperatures were warmer to the south reaching average temperature between 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 C) in Missouri, the southern parts of Illinois and Indiana, and the western two-thirds of Kentucky. Monthly average temperatures were for the most part seasonal, within 3 degrees F (1.7 C) of normal across the region. Temperatures were slightly above normal in the northern and southern edges of the Midwest and slightly below normal across the center of the region. The southern reaches of the region saw warmer than normal minimum temperatures and near normal maximum temperatures while the central portions of the Midwest had near normal minimum temperatures and relatively cool maximum temperatures. Northern Minnesota had both minimum and maximum temperatures that were slightly warmer than normal. Statewide average temperatures in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio were cooler than normal by 1.2 to 1.5 degrees F (0.7 to 0.8 C). Michigan and Wisconsin were slightly cooler than normal while Kentucky, Michigan, and Minnesota were slightly warmer than normal. Overall, the region averaged 0.6 degrees F (0.3 C) cooler than normal and ranked as the 44th coolest July on record (1895-2015).
- Precipitation in July was heaviest across the southern half of the region along with parts of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Total rainfall for the month in these areas was 5 inches (127 mm) or more, with pockets of observed rainfall more than 10 inches (254 mm) along the Iowa-Missouri border, in southern Missouri, and in eastern Kentucky. Rainfall totals were less than 2 inches (508 mm) only in small areas in the northern reaches of the Midwest. In much of Missouri and Kentucky, along with small slivers of the neighboring states, the rainfall totals were two to three times normal for the month. A few small areas in the northern states had totals less than 50 percent of normal. July statewide precipitation rankings (period of record 1895-2015) were among the wettest in three Midwest states. Kentucky experienced its wettest July on record 9.40 inches (239 mm), Missouri tied its 3rd wettest July with 8.13 inches (207 mm), and Indiana recorded its 7th wettest July with 6.04 inches (153 mm). As a region, the Midwest recorded 5.12 inches (130 mm) of precipitation in July, the 8th wettest July on record. June through July preliminary precipitation totals ranked 2015 as the 3rd wettest on record for the Midwest as a whole. Statewide ranks were among the five wettest June-July totals in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri.
- With plentiful rainfall in June and July, ponding water in fields led to crop conditions deteriorating in large swaths of the Midwest. Crop damages with projected monetary losses of over $740 million were estimated for Indiana alone.
- Canadian wildfires in late June and into early July resulted in smoke lingering in the Midwest sky early in the month. More red and orange-colored sunsets were noted where smoke was present in the Midwest.
- The continued rainfall cross the region at the beginning of July resulted in numerous flash flood warnings across Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Urban and town flooding was common with heavy downpours in cities such as Indianapolis and Columbus and small towns such as Watseka, Illinois and Portland, Indiana. Small stream and river flooding were also present across much of the central region of the Midwest. July 13th was a deadly day in Kentucky as flash flood waters claimed the lives of four people near Flat Gap, Kentucky. Numerous homes were destroyed and hundreds of homes affected to some extent. Flood waters from the same storm system claimed the life of one individual as well in Indiana. July 18th flash flood waters claimed the lives of a pregnant mother and her two children as their mobile home was swept into flash flood waters in Ohio.
- Severe weather remained active in July with numerous tornado and large hail reports through the weeks and a long-lived, severe weather wind storm event on July 12th – 13th, 2015.
- For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest, see the weekly summaries in the Midwest Climate Watch page.
- Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
- Mean temperatures in July were slightly above average across much of the Southeast region. The greatest departures were found across portions of Alabama, central South Carolina, and the Florida Panhandle, where monthly temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees F (1.1 to 1.7 degrees C) above average. Ft. Lauderdale, FL (1913-2015) and Tallahassee, FL (1892-2015) observed their warmest and second warmest July mean temperature on record, respectively. The unusual warmth during July was also exceptionally persistent at several locations across the region. For example, Columbia, SC (1887-2015) recorded 9 days with a maximum temperature of at least 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), which is tied for the fourth greatest count during July at this location. Similarly, Macon, GA (1893-2015) observed 7 days with a maximum temperature reaching 100 degrees F, which is tied for the fifth greatest July count on record. Mean temperatures were also above average in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The warmest weather of the month occurred from the 19th through the 21st, as moist tropical air surged northward ahead of an approaching cold front. During this three-day period, maximum temperatures exceeded the middle 90s F across much of the region, with portions of Georgia and South Carolina reaching the lower 100s F (38.3 to 39.4 degrees C). Peaking at 104 degrees F (40 degrees C) on the 21st, Augusta, GA (1874-2015) tied its eighth warmest daily maximum temperature for July on record. In addition, Waycross, GA recorded a heat index of 121 degrees F (49.4 degrees C) on the 21st. In contrast, the coolest weather of the month occurred on the 3rd and 4th, as an upper-level trough settled over the region. Daily maximum temperatures did not exceed 90 degrees F (32.2 degrees C) across a broad portion of the region north of Florida, with widespread areas of the Carolinas and Virginia remaining below 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C).
- Precipitation was highly variable across the Southeast region during July. The driest locations were found across portions of central Georgia, far southern Florida, and the Carolinas, where monthly precipitation totals were between 10 and 50 percent of normal. Hickory, NC (1949-2015) observed its second driest July on record with only 0.92 inch (23 mm) of precipitation. As the driest reporting station in the Southeast for the month, Key West, FL (1871-2015) observed its seventh driest July on record with only 0.67 inch (17 mm) of precipitation. Precipitation was also well below normal for much of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during July. Christiansted, VI (1951-2015) observed its second driest July on record with only 0.77 inch (20 mm) of precipitation, and San Juan, PR (1898-2015) observed its fourth driest July on record with only 1.61 inches (41 mm) of precipitation. The wettest locations were found across northwestern Alabama and the Gulf Coast of Florida, where monthly precipitation totals exceeded 5 inches (127 mm) above normal. Lake City, FL (1893-2015) observed its second wettest July on record with 15.06 inches (383 mm) of precipitation, and Haleyville, AL (1903-2015) observed its fifth wettest July on record with 9.25 inches (235 mm) of precipitation. On the 23rd of the month, New Bern, NC (1949-2015) recorded its second wettest July day with 4.76 inches (121 mm) of precipitation.
- There were 938 severe weather reports across the Southeast during July, and approximately 95 percent of these reports were for damaging thunderstorm winds. At least one severe weather report was recorded within the region on all but two days during the month (16th and 26th), and there were a total of 5 days with 50 or more severe weather reports across the region. At least 12 reporting stations across the region recorded 50 mph or higher thunderstorm wind gusts during the month, including a 74 mph wind gust in Greensboro, NC on the 13th. On the 14th, strong winds associated with a squall line resulted in the death of a 59-year-old man in Cullman County, AL after a tree fell onto him outside his home. Strong thunderstorm winds on the 19th of the month caused a tree to fall on a mobile home in Wakulla County, FL, killing a 25-year-old female occupant. On the 23rd, a 90 mph microburst lifted an HVAC unit from the rooftop of a restaurant in Wilmington, NC and deposited it 30 yards away. Six tornadoes (3 EF-0s, 3 EF-1s) were confirmed across the Southeast during the month, which is well below the long-term (1950-2014) average of 12 tornadoes for the region during July. All six tornadoes occurred in northern Alabama on the 14th of the month, as a vigorous squall line tracked southward over the area from Tennessee. One of the more destructive EF-1 tornadoes damaged numerous homes in the town of Sheffield, AL, but no fatalities or injuries were reported.
- Drought conditions continued to worsen across portions of the Southeast during July. The percentage of the region under drought-free conditions (less than D1) decreased slightly from approximately 85 percent on June 30th to 82 percent on July 28th. In Florida, a localized area of extreme (D3) drought developed over the coastal portions of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties for the first time since August 2011. A small area of severe (D2) drought emerged to the west of the Charlotte metropolitan area in western North Carolina. Moderate (D1) drought conditions expanded across central Georgia and South Carolina, covering nearly 25 and 50 percent of each state, respectively, by the end of the month. Unusual wetness delayed hay production and caused mildew to form in some pastures across areas of northeast Florida and Georgia. Minor armyworm infestations of hay fields were reported in portions of northern Alabama and west-central Florida due to heavy rainfall during the month. Persistent hot and dry conditions were particularly adverse for crop growth across the Carolinas, including soybeans, cotton, corn, and tobacco.
- For more information, please go to the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
- High Plains Region: (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center )
- After several months of extremes, July was overall a milder and quieter month for the U.S. The majority of the country was near normal with temperature departures of 2.0 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) above or below normal. The main exceptions on the warm side were the Pacific Northwest, especially the state of Washington, and pockets of the South where temperature departures were generally 2.0-6.0 degrees (1.1-3.3 degrees C) above normal. Departures on the higher end occurred in the Pacific Northwest. Cooler weather occurred in portions of the Desert Southwest, the Four Corners region, and into Wyoming where departures of 2.0-4.0 degrees F (1.1-2.2 degrees C) below normal were common. Other areas of the High Plains region were largely near normal. In regards to precipitation, California and Nevada were the big winners with precipitation totals in excess of 800 percent of normal at many locations. Meanwhile, areas of Washington, Oregon, and Texas received little to no precipitation. For the High Plains region, precipitation varied with wetter weather occurring in western Wyoming, western Colorado, and pockets of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Dryness occurred in eastern Colorado, southwestern and central Nebraska, eastern Wyoming, and pockets of Kansas and the Dakotas. Although average temperatures were near normal this month, there were plenty of hot and humid days. These conditions tended to facilitate crop development, but stress livestock. Corn development was generally ahead in the Dakotas, but behind in Nebraska and Kansas. Meanwhile, winter wheat and other small grain harvest was completed in southern areas and underway in northern areas. Severe weather, mainly in the form of high winds and hail, did cause some damage to crops in North Dakota, however the full impact of the damage will not be realized until harvest time. For the High Plains region, a total of 859 severe storm reports came into the Storm Prediction Center this month. Of this total 28 were tornado reports, 357 were hail reports, and 474 were wind reports.
- July average temperatures were generally mild with temperature departures within 2.0 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) above or below normal. The only exception on the warm side was northern North Dakota, which had temperature departures of 2.0-4.0 degrees F (1.1-2.2 degrees C) above normal. On the cool side, a large area of Wyoming, along with portions of western Colorado, the panhandle of Nebraska, and southwestern South Dakota had temperature departures generally in the 2.0-4.0 degrees F (1.1-2.2 degrees C) below normal range. A few pockets had larger departures and a few locations ranked in the top 15 coolest Julys on record, including Grand Junction, CO (coolest), Worland, WY (9th coolest), and Casper, WY (11th coolest). Grand Junc-tion's new record of 73.7 degrees F (23.2 degrees C) beat the old record set in both 1911 and 1912 by a full degree (period of record 1893-2015). July is typically the warmest month of the year, but this year June was slightly warmer - coming in at 74.0 degrees F (23.3 degrees C). Only one other year, 1918, has July been cooler than June in Grand Junction. At the end of the month, a potent cold front brought freezing temperatures to portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. Much of western Wyoming, especially in the Yellowstone National Park area, had temperatures well below freezing. While the frost free season in the mountainous areas of these states is typically short, these freezing temperatures were quite late in the season, even for Wyoming's standards. Interestingly, prior to this cold front passage, there had been no temperatures that low since May. With the average last spring freeze occurring in late June or early July, some stations were on track to have their earliest last spring freeze on record.
- Precipitation varied widely across the High Plains region, however this is typical for the summer. Some areas, like west-central South Dakota, central Wyoming, and eastern Colorado only received at most 50 percent of normal precipitation. Other areas had precipitation totals of at least 150 percent of normal, including western parts of Colorado and Wyoming, southeastern South Dakota, and southern and northeastern Kansas. A few locations ranked in the top 15 driest Julys on record, such as Pueblo, CO (12th) and Casper, WY (15th), but many locations receiving the heavier precipitation ranked in the top ten wettest Julys on record. A sampling of these included Laramie, WY (5th), Scottsbluff, NE (7th), Topeka, KS (7th), and Rapid City, SD (9th). Let's take a closer look at a couple of these wet locations. Topeka's July total came to 9.33 inches (237 mm) and was enough to rank as the 7th wettest July on record (period of record 1887-2015). Although not nearly enough to break the record of 12.02 inches (305 mm) set in 1950, the pre-cipitation over the past three months in Topeka has been impressive. Since May 1, Topeka has received 24.98 inches (634 mm), which is the 4th highest total for those three months combined. This is over 10 inches (254 mm) higher than the normal precipitation of 14.13 inches (359 mm) for those three months. Rapid City, on the other hand, has had its wettest May 1- July 31 on record with 17.99 inches (457 mm) of precipitation. This beats out the old record of 15.65 inches (398 mm) set in 1946 (period of record 1942- 2015). Similar to Topeka, this amount is over 10 inches (254 mm) above the normal of 7.60 inches (193 mm). The most interesting storm system this month brought fire danger, severe storms, and even a rare July snow. Out ahead of a potent cold front, hot and dry air caused very high fire danger, which led to grass fires in portions of Wyoming. Severe storms then occurred along the cold front, bringing damaging winds and hail to Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. It may have looked like it snowed in some parts, such as Custer, South Dakota, where plows had to be deployed to move the hail. But, this storm system did bring snow to areas of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. As the front passed, very cold air for this time of the year caused snow to fall in the mountains at elevations of at least 8,000 feet.
- Although not a major issue at this time, improvements in drought conditions continued this month for the High Plains region. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the total area in drought (D1-D4) in the region decreased from just over 1 percent to a little over a half a percent. Moderate drought (D1) was removed in northeastern Nebraska and eastern South Dakota, and only abnormally dry conditions remain. At this time, only northwestern Kansas and southwestern Wyoming have any D1 left. While most of the region had improvements, there are a couple of areas to monitor as abnormally dry conditions (D0) expanded in southern and central Nebraska as well as central Kansas. An area of D0 in the panhandle of Nebraska also developed. These areas have experienced a mix in both short and long term impacts with a combination of precipitation deficits and low streamflows. Although not in the High Plains region, it is important to monitor the drought conditions in Montana as the Missouri River is an important resource for the region and beyond. Areas of western Montana had degradations over the past month as extreme drought conditions (D3) developed there. At the end of July, over 35 percent of the state was in drought (D1-D4), with about 14 percent in the D3 category. With a strong El Niño likely this fall and winter, dry conditions may be in store for the headwaters of the Missouri River. These conditions should be monitored as the snow season progresses this upcoming winter and spring.
- For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.
- Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
- July was a warmer than normal month across the entire southern region with almost all stations reporting average temperatures of at least 0-2 degrees F (0.00-1.11 degrees C) above normal. Temperature anomalies were slightly higher in the central portions of the region where many stations averaged between 2-4 degrees F (1.11-2.22 degrees C) above normal. This was also the case for counties within the Texas Trans Pecos Climate Division. The state-wide average temperatures for the month are as follows: Arkansas averaged 81.90 degrees F (27.72 degrees C), Louisiana averaged 84.30 degrees F (29.06 degrees C), Mississippi averaged 82.70 degrees F (28.17 degrees C), Oklahoma averaged 82.00 degrees F (27.78 degrees C), Tennessee averaged 78.30 degrees F (25.72 degrees C), and Texas averaged 83.10 degrees F (28.39 degrees C). For Louisiana, it was the third warmest July on record, and Mississippi experienced its eleventh warmest. Arkansas and Tennessee recorded their twenty-fourth and thirty-first warmest July on record, respectively. All other state ranking fell within the two middle quartiles and all records are based on data for the period 1895-2015.
- July precipitation in the Southern Region varied spatially from north to south, with northern counties experiencing a very wet month and southern counties experiencing a much drier than normal month. Counties extending from western Texas and Oklahoma through northern Arkansas averaged between one and a half to two times of normal precipitation. Conditions were quite the opposite in Louisiana and eastern/southern Texas, where a majority of stations averaged between five and fifty percent of normal, with many stations not seeing a drop of rain all month. The state-wide average precipitation totals for the month are as follows with: Arkansas reporting 5.08 inches (129.03 mm), Louisiana reporting 2.79 inches (70.87 mm), Mississippi reporting 4.51 inches (114.55 mm), Oklahoma reporting 5.10 inches (129.54 mm), Tennessee reporting 6.17 inches (156.72 mm), and Texas reporting 1.90 inches (48.26 mm). For Louisiana it was the ninth driest July on record, while Oklahoma experienced its thirteenth driest July. Conversely, Arkansas recorded their twenty-fourth wettest July on record, and for Oklahoma and Tennessee it was their thirteenth and seventeenth wettest, respectively. All other state rankings fell within the two middle quartiles and all records are based on data for the period 1895-2015.
- Drier than expected conditions across eastern Texas and Louisiana has led to the introduction of moderate drought. Much of this drought is located in the southern counties of Louisiana, and tin north eastern Texas.
- There is not a lot to report in terms of severe weather. Because July was a drier than normal month, there were not a lot of storms, and only a few tornadoes; none of which led to fatalities or injuries.
- In Texas, agricultural effects were incredibly varied. Wineries were negatively impacted from the previous month's excessive rainfall as the grapes began growing fungi. The increase in rain early on in the month caused grasshoppers to migrate to the Panhandle area where there was less rain, reducing pesticide use in other regions. Chigger populations meanwhile benefited from the excess rainfall. The beginning of the month brought hardships to the shellfish industry. The dry spell towards the end of the month meant the farmers were also able to better use their equipment without having to worry about them sticking in the mud. Cattle and most crops thrived during July. Excessive rainfall caused damage to several Texas State Parks in July. Overall, there were an estimated $2.3 million dollars in damage, and over a dozen parks were closed. High winds postponed the first day of balloon races in East Texas. The triple digit heat was welcomed by a group of engineers in north Texas, who built solar powered cars that were judged by how long they could run. Some heavy rain also occurred late in the month for West Texas and caused flooding in El Paso and Amarillo (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).
- For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
- Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Region Climate Center)
- July was much wetter than normal in much of California and the Great Basin. Scattered areas of the Southwest and Intermountain West also experienced above normal precipitation. Temperatures along the coast and in the Pacific Northwest were well above normal for July, while inland areas were slightly cooler than normal. Washington and western Oregon were particularly warm and dry, exacerbating drought conditions.
- July is typically one of the driest months of the year in southern California. This time, however, over the period of July 18-20, the remnants of Hurricane Dolores combined with a low-pressure system to produce record rainfall in the region. Paso Robles received 2.17 in (55 mm) for the month, the wettest July on record and 3.7 times more rainfall than the previous record of 0.59 in (15 mm) set in 1950. Records for Paso Robles began in 1948. San Diego airport also experienced its wettest July on record at 1.71 in (43 mm). This is more than 7 times the previous July record of 0.24 in (6 mm) in 1991 and 57 times the July normal of 0.03 in (<1 mm). This San Diego record began in 1939. July precipitation in the Great Basin and scattered areas of the Southwest was above normal as well, tied to a slow moving low-pressure system that helped to initiate thunderstorms across the region July 7-9th. Urban flash flooding was reported in several locations including Reno, Nevada and Boise, Idaho. Fallon, in northwestern Nevada, had its second wettest July in a 71-year record at 1.2 in (30 mm), 545% of normal. Over half of this fell on July 9. Further north, Boise, Idaho received 0.97 in (25 mm) for the month, 293% of normal, the 4th wettest July since records began in 1940. Albuquerque, New Mexico recorded 3.28 in (83 mm) of precipitation, 1.82 in (46 mm) of which fell on the 7th. Their July total was 219% of normal and the 7th wettest in a 119-year record. A large area of western Colorado and Wyoming saw drought improvement this month along with small areas of Arizona, western New Mexico, northern Nevada, eastern California, and north-central Montana. The rains received in California, especially in the south, though beneficial and significant for the season, were relatively small in quantity and did little to alleviate severe and persistent drought conditions for the state as a whole.
- July marks the third consecutive month of widespread above normal temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, Washington experienced its warmest July on record with an average 71.2 F (21.8 C), 5.5 F (3 C) above normal; last month was Seattle's warmest June. In central Washington, Wenatchee had its second warmest July on record at 80.3 F (26.8 C), 6.1 F (3.4 C) above normal. In eastern Washington, Yakima had its third warmest July on record at 77.1 F (25.1 C). July 2013, 2014, and 2014 take the top three hottest Julys in Yakima's 70-year record. Further south, Portland, Oregon saw its second warmest July on record with an average 73.9 F (23.3 C), 4.7 F (2.6 C) above normal. Portland also tied for second longest run of consecutive days with temperatures at least 90 F (32.2 C), at 8 days spanning June 19-July 6. The longest streak on record is 10 days, July 25-August 3, 2009. In southwestern Oregon, Roseburg had its warmest July on record at 76.1 F (24.5 C), 5.8 F (3.2 C) above normal. Roseburg also tied for its second and third all-time high temperatures this month at 108 F (42.2 C) on July 30 and 107 F (41.7 C) on July 31. Drier than normal conditions accompanied the warm temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. Walla Walla, in southeast Washington and North Bend in western Oregon recorded 0.04 in (1 mm) and 0 in. rainfall this month. These locations typically receive around 0.5 in (13 mm) in July. The warm and dry conditions this month aided in expansion and intensification of drought conditions throughout Washington and in western Oregon. Above normal temperatures were also observed in some coastal areas of California. In the southern part of the state, Santa Maria had its warmest July since this record began in 1948 at 68.6 F (20.3 C), 5.4 F (13 C) above normal. Along the northern coast, Arcata saw its warmest July at 60.2 F (50.7 C), 4.2 C (2.3 C) above normal.
- Precipitation was variable across Alaska, with below normal values observed across the northern tier of the state and above normal values in the southeast. Juneau recorded 10.4 in (264 mm) for the month, 226% of normal and narrowly eclipsing the 1997 record wettest July in a 80 year record. Anchorage had its 3rd wettest July on record with 3.31 in (84 mm), including its wettest July day on record of 1.13 in (29 mm) on the 25th. Precipitation was generally below normal across Hawaii and temperatures above normal. Honolulu experienced its warmest July on record at an average 83.3 F (28.5 C), 2.1 F (1.2 C) above normal. Records for Honolulu began in 1940.
- July (all month): Fires in Alaska: Over 700 wildfires in Alaska have burned nearly 5 million acres (2 million hectares) this summer. Approximately 300 of these fires have been human-caused, the rest by lightning. Late July rains helped to slow fire progress, though this season still has the potential to exceed the record set in 2004 of 6.59 million acres (2.6 million hectares) burned.
- July (all month): Fires in the West: More than a dozen large wildfires were burning in California at month's end. One of the largest is the Rocky Fire in Lake County, northern California. The fire has reached 18,000 acres (7,300 hectares) and destroyed 3 homes. The California governor has declared a state of emergency to free up resources to fight the fires. Washington has also had many large wildfires this month. One of the largest is the Douglas County Complex fire that has burned over 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) in the central part of the state since it was ignited by lightning on July 10.
- For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.