National Climate Report - July 2019

Supplemental Material


National Overview

July Extreme Weather/Climate Events

July Highlights

July Temperature

  • The July contiguous U.S. temperature was 74.6°F, 1.0°F above the 20th century average, ranking in the upper third of the 125-year record. This tied with 1917 as the 27th warmest July for the contiguous United States.
  • Above-average July temperatures stretched from the Great Lakes to New England and down to the Gulf Coast as well as across much of the Southwest. Seventeen states across the contiguous U.S. had July temperatures that were much-above-average, with Connecticut and Rhode Island ranking third warmest.
  • Below-average temperatures were present across parts of the Deep South and the Northwest.
  • Alaska reported its warmest July and month on record with an average temperature of 58.1°F, 5.4°F above average and 0.8°F more than the previous warmest month, which occurred in July 2004.
    • In addition to Alaska’s warmest month on record since 1925, Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Kotzebue, Kodiak, King Salmon, Anchorage, McGrath, and Yakutat each had their warmest month during July.
    • Regionally, record warmest conditions prevailed across many of the southern divisions with much-above-average temperatures dominating most other divisions.
  • The nationally averaged maximum temperature (daytime highs) was warmer than average during July at 87.1°F, 0.5°F above average, ranking in the middle third of the 125-year record. Eleven states in the mid-Atlantic, New England, and Southwest had a July maximum temperature that was much-above-average, while seven states from the Gulf Coast to the Northwest were cooler than average.
  • The nationally averaged minimum temperature (overnight lows) during July was 62.1°F, 1.5°F above average, ranking in the top third of the 125-year record. All but six contiguous U.S. states had minimum temperatures that ranked either above-average or much-above-average during July. Minimum temperatures anomalies were decidedly greater than maximum temperatures anomalies during July.
  • As of August 9, there were 1,695 cold daily high (582) and low (1,113) temperature records tied or broken during July. This was roughly half of the approximately 3,482 daily warm high (810) and low (2,672) temperature records set during the month.
  • Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during July was 85 percent above average and ranked 12th highest in the 125-year period of record.

July Precipitation

  • The July precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 2.69 inches, 0.09 inch below average, and ranked in the middle third of the 125-year period of record.
  • July was the first month in 2019 where dry conditions outpaced wet conditions. Below-average precipitation was observed from the West Coast to the Deep South as well as in pockets of the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast. Arizona ranked 11th driest for the month and was the only state to rank much-below average.
  • Above- to much-above-average precipitation fell across parts of the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, parts of the Northeast, and throughout much of the northern Plains. South Dakota ranked third wettest and was the only state to rank much above average during July.
    • Much of Alaska was also drier than average, particularly across the central regions, where drought has recently emerged, and across the panhandle, where severe to extreme drought persists.
    • Hurricane Barry made landfall on July 13 along the Louisiana coast and remained over the southern Mississippi Valley for several days. Rainfall across Louisiana and Arkansas was significant.
      • The storm total rainfall of 16.59 inches in Dierks, AR, set a statewide record for the most precipitation received from a tropical cyclone in Arkansas.
      • Nearly two feet of rain fell near Ragley, LA, from July 12-16; the highest local storm total reported for Barry.
  • According to the July 30 U.S. Drought Monitor report, approximately 3 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, which is similar to what was reported at the beginning of July. Drought conditions improved across North Dakota and Idaho and expanded across parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Outside of the contiguous U.S., drought expanded across parts of central Alaska and improved in portions of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Micronesia.

Year-to-Date Highlights

January-July Temperature

  • For the year-to-date, the national temperature was 51.5°F, 0.2°F above average, ranking in the middle third of the historical record.
  • Above- to much-above-average January–July temperatures were observed across New Mexico as well as the Gulf Coast, Southeast, and throughout parts of southern New England. Eleven states across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic had much-above-average year-to-date temperatures, including Florida, which tied 2017 for record warmest January–July. The Florida statewide average temperature was 72.4°F, 3.0°F above average.
  • Below- to much-below-average temperatures were observed from the central Plains to the Canadian border. South Dakota ranked ninth coldest for this year-to-date period.
  • The contiguous U.S. average maximum (daytime) temperature during January-July was 62.8°F, 0.5°F below the 20th century average, ranking in the lower third of the 125-year record. Above-average maximum temperatures were observed across the Southeast, Ohio Valley, and the mid-Atlantic, with Florida ranking 4th warmest. Below-average maximum temperatures were observed from the Great Basin to the Great Lakes and into the central Plains. South Dakota ranked 4th coolest during this period.
  • The contiguous U.S. January-July minimum (nighttime) temperature was 40.2°F, 0.9°F above average, and ranked in the middle third of the record. Above-average minimum temperatures were observed across the West, the South, and from the Gulf Coast through the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast. Below-average temperatures occurred across Montana, North and South Dakota, as well as Nebraska.
  • The Alaska statewide average temperature for the year-to-date was 33.3°F, 7.5°F above average and ranked as the second warmest such period on record. Record warm temperatures were observed across much of the northern and western divisions with much-above-average temperatures dominating the rest of the state.
  • Based on REDTI, the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during January-July was 6 percent below average and ranked in the middle third of the 125-year period of record.

January-July Precipitation

  • The year-to-date precipitation total for the Lower 48 was 21.79 inches, 3.70 inches above average, ranking wettest on record.
  • The 12-month average precipitation across the contiguous U.S. for August 2018–July 2019 was 37.73 inches, 7.78 inches above average and the wettest August–July period on record. This also ranks as the second wettest among all 12-month periods on record behind the 37.90 inches of precipitation that fell during July 2018–June 2019.
  • Despite the drier conditions during July, precipitation across the contiguous U.S. remained at record pace for the year-to-date period. Much-above-average precipitation was observed across 21 states from coast-to-coast with Illinois and Ohio ranking second wettest.
  • Below-average precipitation was observed across Georgia and South Carolina. Washington state had its 11th driest January–July period on record with 17.31 inches of precipitation, 5.50 inches below average.
  • According to the July 30 U.S. Drought Monitor report, approximately 3 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, which is similar to what was reported at the beginning of July. Drought conditions improved across North Dakota and Idaho and expanded across parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Outside of the contiguous U.S., drought expanded across parts of central Alaska and improved in portions of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Micronesia.

Extremes

  • The USCEI for the year-to-date was 47 percent above average and ranked 14th highest in the 110-year period of record. Extremes in wet PDSI, 1-day precipitation, and the number of days with precipitation contributed to this elevated value. The component that examines wet PDSI and the number of days with precipitation were record highest.
    • On the regional scale, the Northeast, Ohio Valley, and Southeast regions experienced above average CEI values, due to a combination of wet PDSI, extremes in 1-day precipitation, the number of days with precipitation and extremes in warm maximum and minimum temperatures across the Southeast.

Regional Highlights

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 Centers for Environmental Information.

Northeast Region (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)

  • The Northeast had its ninth warmest July on record with an average temperature of 72.3 degrees F (22.4 degrees C), 2.7 degrees F (1.5 degrees C) above normal. This July ranked among the 12 warmest on record for each Northeast state: Connecticut and Rhode Island, third warmest; Massachusetts and New Jersey, fifth warmest; Delaware and Maryland, sixth warmest; Maine, eighth warmest: New Hampshire, ninth warmest; Vermont, 10th warmest; Pennsylvania, 11th warmest; and New York and West Virginia, 12th warmest. State departures ranged from 2.3 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) above normal in West Virginia to 3.5 degrees F (1.9 degrees C) above normal in Connecticut. Several July and all-time temperature records were set at sites across the Northeast during the month. Boston, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; and Portland, Maine, had their all-time warmest month on record. Hartford and Bridgeport, Connecticut, had their highest average maximum temperature for any month on record, while Boston and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, had their highest average minimum temperature for any month on record. In addition, Hartford, Connecticut, had 19 days with a maximum temperature of 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) or higher in July, the site’s most for any month on record. In July, Boston and Scranton, Pennsylvania, had their greatest number of days with a minimum temperature of 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) or higher for any month on record at 17 days and 10 days, respectively. Boston, Massachusetts, tied its all-time highest minimum temperature on record (since 1872) with a low of 83 degrees F (28 degrees C) on July 21. The low of 78 degrees F (26 degrees C) in Providence, Rhode Island, on the 21st tied as the highest minimum temperature for July on record (since 1904).
  • In July, the Northeast received 4.28 inches (108.71 mm) of precipitation, which was 101 percent of normal. Seven states were drier than normal, while five states were wetter than normal. Precipitation for all states ranged from 69 percent of normal in Vermont to 135 percent of normal in New Jersey. It was the 17th wettest July on record for Pennsylvania and the 20th wettest on record for New Jersey.
  • The Northeast started off July free of abnormal dryness and drought. However, in mid-July, short-term precipitation deficits led to declining streamflow and soil moisture and the introduction of abnormal dryness in a small area in northwestern Connecticut, southwestern Massachusetts, and eastern New York. The U.S. Drought Monitor released on July 18 showed 1 percent of the Northeast as abnormally dry. The following week, these areas received between 2 and 3 inches of rain, easing abnormal dryness. The U.S. Drought Monitor released on July 25 showed the Northeast was free of drought and abnormal dryness once again.
  • There were several flash flood events once again during July. Extreme rainfall led to significant flash flooding in portions of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia on July 8. Washington National, D.C., received 3.30 inches (83.82 mm) of rain, nearly a July’s worth, in an hour. This event exceeded the 100-year return period, meaning rainfall of that magnitude has a 1 percent chance of occurring in a given year. The greatest 24-hour rain totals across the three-state area approached 5 inches (127 mm). Waterways rose quickly in response to the deluge. For instance, preliminary data shows Seneca Creek at Dawsonville, Maryland, rose more than five feet (1.5 m) in an hour. A rare Flash Flood Emergency was issued by the National Weather Service for Washington, D.C., and a portion of northern Virginia. Another notable event happened on July 11 when downpours caused flash flooding in parts of the region, particularly Pennsylvania and Maryland. CoCoRaHS reports indicated as much as 2.50 inches (63.50 mm) of rain fell in an hour in some areas of Pennsylvania, with the greatest 24-hour totals across the region ranging from 3 to 6 inches (76 to 152 mm). Waterways responded rapidly. For example, a National Weather Service storm report indicated Whitemarsh Run in White Marsh, Maryland, rose over six feet (1.8 m) in an hour. Rising waters prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Flash Flood Emergency for portions of Berks and Montgomery counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. The flooding events throughout the month led to numerous roads closures, water entering homes and other buildings, stuck vehicles, and water rescues. From July 19 to 22, the Northeast experienced a heat wave, with the highest maximum temperatures reaching 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). In addition, humidity levels were unusually high. For instance, at 9 PM on July 20, the National Weather Service noted a dewpoint of 79 degrees F (26 degrees C) at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Pennsylvania, which tied as the second highest hourly dewpoint at the station since 1948. The combination of heat and humidity prompted Excessive Heat Warnings for much of the region and made it feel as hot as 114 degrees F (46 degrees C) in some places. Minimum temperatures were extraordinarily warm. Seventeen major climate sites had minimum temperatures that ranked among the 10 warmest on record for July. In fact, at 12 of those sites, the minimum temperatures ranked among the 10 all-time warmest on record. There were also numerous days during July with severe thunderstorms. These storms produced strong winds that downed trees and wires, causing hundreds of thousands of customers to lose power. Despite the frequent thunderstorms, there were only five tornadoes in July, well below the Northeast’s (1989-2013) average of 13. Each state had a near or below-average number of tornadoes, except Massachusetts and New Jersey. Two tornadoes, an EF-0 on July 6 and an EF-1 on July 11, caused tree and roof damage in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. On July 23, three EF-1 tornadoes touched down on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, uprooting and snapping more than 150 trees and damaging buildings. There have only been three other tornadoes reported on Cape Cod (Barnstable County), Massachusetts, since records began in 1950, according to NCEI’s storm database. During the month, flooding, thunderstorm winds, lightning, and heat contributed to several injuries and at least six deaths in the region. The bursts of heavy rain and warm temperatures during July contributed to harmful algal blooms across the region, causing numerous lakes to be closed for swimming and other recreational activities and leading to the closure of some shellfish farms along New England’s coastline.
  • For more information, please visit the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Midwest Region (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)

  • Widespread heat and an intense heat wave led to above normal temperatures for almost all the Midwest in July despite cooler temperatures to end the month. Regionwide, temperatures were 74.4 degrees F (23.6 C) which was 1.7 degrees F (0.9 C) above normal. Some of the warmest areas were across Ohio, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Minimum temperatures were very warm across the region. Of the more than 400 daily high temperature records broken or tied in the region, more than 370 were for high minimum temperatures.
  • Precipitation followed two main storm tracks across Minnesota and Wisconsin and across the southern Midwest during July. Regionwide precipitation was 4.07 inches (103.4 mm) which was near the normal of 4.06 inches (103.1 mm). Heavy rain from storms during the middle of the month in central Wisconsin and southern Minnesota led to 125 to 150 percent of the normal amount of rainfall for the month. A few areas in the Missouri Bootheel and southwestern Minnesota had more than twice the normal amount for the month. Heavy precipitation was common when it fell across the region. More than 300 daily precipitation records were broken in July, with more than 40 records in each of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri.
  • A heat wave from July 18th to 21st led the National Weather Service to issue Excessive Heat Warnings across a large portion of the Midwest. Heat index values of 115 degrees F (46 C) and higher were reported in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, with widespread values over 100 degrees F (38 C). Several of the locations with a heat index at or above 115 degrees F (46 C) included Minneapolis, MN, La Crosse, WI and Joliet, IL. Two deaths were reported in Chicago, IL related to the heat.
  • As of the July 30th U.S. Drought Monitor, the Midwest reached its 31st consecutive week without drought. The streak of drought-free conditions began on January 1st, 2019. This more than doubled the previous record streak of 14-week weeks from January 5-April 5th, 2016 (U.S. Drought Monitor records go back to January 2000). However, a dry month of July aided in the development of abnormally dry conditions across southeastern Iowa, northwestern Illinois and several other areas in the Midwest. The effects of the dryness on agriculture compounded the previous impacts of a wet spring. Soil compaction led to poorer root systems for corn and soybeans and increased their susceptibility to dryness and drought.
  • Severe weather was active across the Midwest in July as more than 1,100 reports of wind, hail and tornadoes were recorded. More than 900 of these storm reports were for thunderstorm wind gusts. Gusts of 75 to 85 miles per hour (121 to 137 kilometers per hour) were reported at several locations. The strongest gust reported near Plover, WI was 86 miles per hour (138 kilometers per hour) on July 20th. Two people were also injured near Galesville, WI from severe winds. Of the reported tornadoes across the region, most were weak EF-0 or EF-1 tornadoes.
  • For further details on the weather and climate events in the Midwest, see the weekly and monthly reports at the Midwest Climate Watch page.

Southeast Region (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)

  • Temperatures were near average (i.e. within 3 degrees F (1.5 degrees C)) across the Southeast and Puerto Rico for the month of July. Monthly mean temperatures were over 3 degrees F (1.5 degrees C) above normal in only 5 of the 197 long-term (i.e., period of record equaling or exceeding 50 years) stations across the region. There were no stations that ranked 1st warmest or coldest in the Southeast region as far as mean temperatures. Maximum temperatures ranged from 5.7 degrees F (2.9 degrees C) above normal in Pelion, SC (1947-2019) to 2.9 degrees F (1.5 degrees C) below normal in Oneonta, AL (1894-2019). Minimum temperatures ranged from 5.9 degrees F (3 degrees C) above normal in Marion, NC (1893-2019) to 3.7 degrees F (1.9 degrees C) below normal in Tifton, GA (1911-2019), which was the only station to rank 1st coldest. Jacksonville, FL (1871-2019) was the only station to rank 1st warmest at 4.9 degrees F (2.5 degrees C) above normal for minimum temperatures. The July 4th holiday saw some of the warmest temperatures of the month due to the presence of an upper level ridge over the region. Columbia, SC (1887-2019) had a maximum temperature of 101 degrees F (38 degrees C) and Cape Hatteras, NC (1893-2019) had a maximum temperature of 91 degrees F (32 degrees C), tying for the warmest July 4th on record. Pensacola, FL (1879-2019) had a maximum temperature of 97 degrees F (36 degrees C), also tying for the warmest July 4th on record. Many stations reported maximum temperatures reaching more than 5 degrees F (2.5 degrees C) above normal. Greenville, NC (1875-2019) had a maximum temperature 9 degrees F (4.5 degrees C) above normal. In contrast, the coolest weather of the month came around July 10th, after a cold front passed through the region. Maximum temperatures were around 5 degrees F (2.5 degrees C) below normal. The coolest minimum temperatures occurred on July 25th, after the passage of another cold front. Marshall, NC (1898-2019; 1st coldest) got down to 49 degrees F (9 degrees C), Macon, GA (1892-2019; 1st coldest) got down to 60 degrees F (15 degrees C), and Charlotte, NC (1878-2019) had a minimum temperature of 61 degrees F (16 degrees C) ranking the first coldest minimum temperature for July 25th. Minimum temperatures across many stations were 7 to 10 degrees F (3.5 to 5 degrees C) below normal.
  • Precipitation was variable across the Southeast during the month of July, which is common during the summer. Precipitation across Puerto Rico, on the other hand, was near normal, with San Juan (1898-2019) receiving 6.72 inches (170 mm) and Juncos (1931-2019) receiving 5.79 inches (147 mm). Monthly precipitation totals ranged from 50 to less than 5 percent of normal across much of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Oneonta, AL (1894-2019) observed its driest July on record, with only 0.68 inches (17 mm) of precipitation. In contrast, parts of North Carolina and the western half of the Florida Peninsula were exceptionally wet. Monthly precipitation totals ranged from 150 to more than 200 percent of normal in these areas. Naples, FL (1942-2019) observed its second wettest July on record with 17.88 inches (454 mm) of precipitation. As is typical of July, localized heavy rainfall produced flash flooding across local parts of the region. On July 8th, Reagan National Airport (1929-2019) observed its 4th wettest July day on record with 3.44 inches (87 mm) of precipitation. Most of the precipitation (2.79 inches (70 mm)) fell in a single hour. The heavy rains overwhelmed the city’s drainage system and flooded many roads. More than a dozen water rescues were performed. A series of training thunderstorms produced flash flooding in Greensboro, NC (1903-2019) on July 31st. At the airport, 1.96 inches (50 mm) of precipitation fell, ranking it the 1st wettest July 31st on record. Radar estimates, however, indicate up to 6 inches (152 mm) of precipitation fell around the city. With the flooding came over 40 water rescues and more than a dozen road closures.
  • There were 626 severe weather reports across the Southeast during July, which is about 108 percent of the median monthly frequency of 578 reports during 2000-2018. Of these reports, 96 percent were wind (603 of 626). On July 6th, a 50 mph (22 m/s) wind gust in Lauderdale, AL resulted in one fatality and two injuries, when a tree fell on three kayakers. On July 22nd, severe winds knocked down a tree during a training exercise at Fort Pickett, VA, killing one soldier and injuring two others. There were 3 tornadoes for the month, much less than the average of 10. An EF-0 and EF-1 were reported in Willow Spring, NC, and an EF-0 was reported in Palm Beach, FL. No injuries or fatalities were reported with the tornadoes. There were only 20 reports of hail, which is about one third of the 62 average reports for the month of July. There were two lightning fatalities for the month. The first occurred on July 4th in Lawshee Plantation, SC, where a 44 year old man was struck at a family get-together. The second occurred on July 21st in Clearwater Beach, FL where a 32 year old man was struck at the beach, making it the 10th U.S. lighting fatality for the year and the 2nd one in Florida.
  • Drought conditions changed little throughout the month of July. At the end of the month, severe drought (D2) still covered pockets of areas in Alabama that did not experienced localized thunderstorms that are common during the summer. Moderate drought (D1), ringed by an area of dry conditions (D0), covered parts of southeastern North Carolina, northeastern South Carolina, central Georgia, northern Florida, and central and southern Alabama. Puerto Rico ended the month with D2 conditions covering the southern areas at 13 percent, D1 conditions at 23 percent and D0 conditions at 48 percent. This season continues to produce a great peach crop in Georgia due to the relative absence of extreme weather. Crops are beginning to show signs of stress in areas that have not seen as much rain in the Piedmont and Coastal North Carolina, as well as parts of Alabama and Georgia. However, areas that have seen some rain are reporting normal crop conditions. The citrus region in Florida continues to remain drought-free, and groves are progressing well. However, Dixie and Lafayette counties in Florida are seeing peanut losses due to standing water in the fields from the July thunderstorms.
  • For more information, please visit the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.

High Plains Region (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center)

  • The High Plains experienced both ends of the precipitation spectrum during July, as areas of South Dakota and Nebraska continued to get pounded with heavy rainfall while other parts of the region remained dry. Heavy precipitation produced impressive records in places like Rapid City, South Dakota, which had its wettest July on record, and it also created additional flooding in areas of south-central Nebraska. Streamflows remained high throughout these areas, as well as along the James and Missouri Rivers in the eastern High Plains, where high flows have been present since March. A positive outcome of the heavy precipitation was the relief from drought conditions in northern North Dakota, although the rains may have come too late to lessen agricultural impacts in the region. On the other hand, abnormal dryness developed across several areas of the High Plains in July due to short-term precipitation deficits, and some minor impacts to crops were being reported. As for temperatures, they were nothing out of the ordinary for July, although a mid-month heat wave caused roads to buckle in eastern portions of the region.
  • Crop progress continued to be behind the five-year average throughout the High Plains, especially in the Dakotas, but generally crops were in good condition. One issue that has been prevalent is many crops developed poor root systems this year, which was due to being planted into wet and compacted soils. A crop with a poorly-developed root system cannot easily tap into the deeper soil moisture profile when needed. This has become a concern in some parts of the region because of the short-term dryness that has developed, which has rapidly depleted topsoil moisture. As crops continue to mature, they will use more water, but if their root systems are not well developed and there is little topsoil moisture available, they will quickly become stressed. Additionally, freeze risk is still a concern across the region because a large majority of crops were planted late and may not reach maturity in time, but it is still too early to determine with any certainty when the first fall freeze will occur.
  • Similar to June, average temperatures were near normal in July. Slightly below-normal temperatures occurred throughout the western Dakotas, the northern half of Wyoming, the Nebraska Panhandle, and eastern Kansas. Meanwhile, above-normal temperatures prevailed elsewhere, with several pockets of southern Wyoming, eastern Colorado, and northeastern North Dakota exceeding temperature departures of 2.0 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) above normal. Due to the near-normal temperatures experienced throughout the region, it was not a month noteworthy for temperature records.
  • Despite near-normal monthly temperatures, extremes occurred throughout July. Most notably, a heat wave spread across the region during the middle of the month. High maximum and minimum temperatures, as well as the availability of ample moisture, created dangerous conditions that prompted the National Weather Service to issue Excessive Heat Warnings across a large portion of the Plains and the Midwest. One location that was impacted by the heat wave was Wichita, Kansas, where temperatures reached or exceeded 100.0 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) four consecutive days from July 17th-20th. Minimum temperatures in the upper 70s created extremely uncomfortable conditions. In fact, the heat caused several roads to buckle in the Wichita area. Although maximum temperatures were not quite as high during this event, the heat caused Interstate 229 to buckle in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Denver, Colorado was also impacted by this heat wave, setting daily maximum temperature records of 99.0 degrees F (37.2 degrees C) on the 18th and 101.0 degrees F (38.3 degrees C) on the 19th (period of record 1872-2019).
  • Precipitation extremes were evident across the High Plains during July. Wet conditions occurred across much of South Dakota, southern North Dakota, and central Nebraska. The majority of this area received 150 percent of normal precipitation for the month with isolated pockets receiving in excess of 300 percent of normal precipitation. As a result, the following locations ranked among the top 10 of wettest Julys: Rapid City, SD (wettest); Mobridge, SD (2nd wettest); Huron, SD (6th wettest); North Platte, NE (7th wettest); and Sioux Falls, SD (8th wettest).
  • Parts of Nebraska were impacted yet again by another flood event in early July. On the evening of the 8th, strong thunderstorms developed and repeatedly moved over areas of south-central Nebraska, producing more than 8.00 inches (203 mm) of rain in some areas. Kearney 4NE, a National Weather Service COOP station, received 5.04 inches (128 mm) of rain, which was the station’s highest 1-day total precipitation ever recorded in July and 2nd highest 1-day total in any month (period of record 1894-2019). The city of Kearney experienced flash flooding, and many travelers were evacuated from hotels in the path of the floodwaters and taken to local shelters. The flooding caused a temporary closure of Interstate 80 and several other highways in the area, and it halted Amtrak train service as well. The excessive precipitation caused the Wood and Platte Rivers to rise quickly, threatening communities downstream.
  • Meanwhile, dryness was present throughout a large part of the High Plains in July, including the majority of Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and eastern Nebraska where precipitation was less than 50 percent of normal. Alamosa, Colorado had its 3rd driest July on record. To some extent, the dryness was welcome in areas that have been excessively wet during the spring and early part of summer. However, dryness issues can develop quickly this time of year due to high crop water use and evaporative demand. The decline in topsoil moisture during July was evident throughout much of the High Plains. According to the USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin, topsoil moisture was in very good shape at the beginning of the month, but by the end of July, conditions had deteriorated rapidly. For instance, from July 7th to August 4th, the percent of topsoil moisture rated short to very short increased from four percent to 26 percent in Nebraska and from six percent to 40 percent in Kansas. With a month of summer left, this is something to watch closely moving forward.
  • Mountain snowpack in the Upper Missouri Basin had completely melted out by early July. A late meltout of mountain snowpack in Colorado caused streamflows to continue to be above normal throughout much of the state in July. Ongoing wetness also caused streamflows to remain above normal throughout the eastern High Plains. Streamflows in western South Dakota were running very high due to above-normal precipitation, as this region received as much as 300 percent of normal precipitation over the course of the month. In June, streamflows were running below normal in northern and western North Dakota due to persistent dryness. However, much-needed precipitation occurred in these areas during July, which improved streamflow conditions. Only a few localized areas throughout the High Plains experienced below-normal streamflows during July.
  • Drought conditions eased in northern North Dakota, while abnormal dryness developed in several areas of the High Plains during July. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the area experiencing drought or abnormal dryness (D0-D4) increased from approximately six percent to nine percent over the course of the month, while the area in drought (D1-D4) decreased from about two percent to only a quarter of a percent.
  • Heavy showers and thunderstorms that occurred around the middle of the month provided relief to northern North Dakota, where drought developed and intensified during June. Severe drought (D2) was removed, while the areas experiencing moderate drought (D1) or abnormal dryness (D0) were reduced. Despite the welcomed rainfall, impacts still remained. For instance, hay production was low and a hay hotline was established, as the rains came too late to vastly improve the situation. Furthermore, this area is experiencing cumulative effects from drought that occurred during the past two summers.
  • Elsewhere in the High Plains, short-term precipitation deficits caused D0 to develop during the latter half of July in southwestern and northwestern Colorado, southwestern Wyoming, central Kansas, and eastern Nebraska. These areas were quite dry during July, receiving less than 50 percent of normal precipitation. Only South Dakota was free of dryness, as above-normal precipitation occurred throughout much of the state.
  • For more information, please visit the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Southern Region (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)

  • Temperatures for the month of July varied spatially across the Southern Region. Parts of western, southern, and eastern Oklahoma; north-central and eastern Texas; central and northwestern Louisiana; central, western, northern, and eastern Arkansas, and northwestern Mississippi experienced temperatures 1 to 2 degrees F (0.56 to 1.11 degrees C) below normal., while isolated parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana experienced temperatures 2 to 3 degrees F (1.11 to 1.67 degrees C) below normal. Conversely, parts of eastern and central Tennessee, western Oklahoma, and northern, western, southern, and southeastern Texas experienced temperatures 1 to 2 degrees F (0.56 to 1.11 degrees C) above normal. Parts of southern and western Texas experienced temperatures 2 to 3 degrees F (1.11 to 1.67 degrees C) above normal, while parts of far western Texas experienced temperatures 3 to 5 degrees F (1.67 to 2.78 degrees C) above normal. The statewide monthly average temperatures were as follows: Arkansas – 79.00 degrees F (26.11 degrees C), Louisiana – 81.60 degrees F (27.56 degrees C), Mississippi – 80.60 degrees F (27.00 degrees C), Oklahoma – 80.60 degrees F (27.00 degrees C), Tennessee – 77.70 degrees F (25.39 degrees C), and Texas – 82.80 degrees F (28.22 degrees C). The statewide temperature rankings for July were as follows: Arkansas (thirtieth coldest), Louisiana (forty-eighth coldest), Mississippi (fifty-second coldest), Oklahoma (forty-first coldest), Tennessee (forty-sixth warmest), and Texas (fiftieth warmest). All state rankings are based on the period spanning 1895-2019.
  • Precipitation values for the month of July exhibited a west-to-east pattern across the Southern Region, with below-normal precipitation in the west and above-normal precipitation in the east. Parts of northern, central, and southern Oklahoma; northwestern Louisiana; and central, eastern, southern, and western Texas received 50 percent or less of normal precipitation. Parts of northern and central Oklahoma, northwestern Louisiana, and central, western, southern, and eastern Texas received 25 percent or less of normal precipitation, while parts of southern and central Texas received 5 percent or less of normal precipitation. In contrast, parts of central and western Tennessee, central, northern, and southwestern Mississippi, south-central and eastern Arkansas, and central, southern, and eastern Louisiana received 150 percent or more of normal precipitation. Parts of western Tennessee, central and northern Mississippi, south-central Arkansas, and central and southeastern Louisiana received precipitation 200 percent or more of normal, while parts of south-central Louisiana received precipitation 300 percent or more of normal. The statewide precipitation totals for the month were as follows: Arkansas – 4.65 inches (118.11 mm), Louisiana – 6.61 inches (167.89 mm), Mississippi – 6.84 inches (173.74 mm), Oklahoma – 1.70 inches (43.18 mm), Tennessee – 5.93 inches (150.62 mm), and Texas – 1.27 inches (32.26 mm). The state precipitation rankings for July were as follows: Arkansas (thirty-seventh wettest), Louisiana (thirty-first wettest), Mississippi (nineteenth wettest), Oklahoma (thirtieth driest), Tennessee (twenty-first wettest), and Texas (twentieth driest). All state rankings are based on the period spanning 1895-2019.
  • Drought and Severe Weather:
    • At the end of July, drought conditions deteriorated across the Southern Region. Severe drought classifications were still present in far southern Texas, while moderate drought classifications expanded in far southern Texas and developed in northern Texas as well as southwestern Oklahoma. There were no drought conditions in Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. There was an increase in the overall area experiencing abnormally dry conditions, despite improvement or removal in southern Louisiana, western and southeastern Tennessee, and northeastern Mississippi, as abnormally dry conditions developed or expanded across parts of southern, central, western, and northern Texas as well as southwestern and western Oklahoma.
    • In July, there were a total of 162 storm reports across Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. There were 8 tornado reports, 32 hail reports, and 122 wind reports. Louisiana tallied the most tornado reports (4), while Texas tallied the most hail (17) and wind (39) reports. Texas tallied the most reports total (58), while Tennessee tallied the fewest (12).
    • The Southern Region was impacted by a hurricane during the month of July, as Hurricane Barry made landfall in south-central Louisiana before tracking northward into Arkansas as a tropical depression. Every state except for Oklahoma reported rain from the system, according to the Weather Prediction Center’s storm summary, with a maximum rainfall total of 23.58 inches (598.93 mm) reported near Ragley, Louisiana. A cooperative observer near Dierks, Arkansas reported receiving 16.59 inches (421.39 mm) of rain during the storm’s passage, setting the Arkansas state record for maximum rainfall from a tropical system. A wind gust of 67 mph (107.83 kph) was reported near Cypremort Point, Louisiana.
    • On July 3, 2019, a wind gust of 78 mph (125.53 kph) was reported near Bessie, Oklahoma, while wind gusts of 70 mph (112.65 kph) were reported near Drummond, Oklahoma and Plains, Texas.
    • On July 6, 2019, a wind gust of 71 mph (114.26 kph) was reported near Okemah, Oklahoma, while wind gusts of 60 mph (96.56 kph) and 59 mph (94.95 kph) were reported near Sundown, Texas and Orla, Texas, respectively.
    • On July 7, 2019, a wind gust of 64 mph (103.00 kph) was reported near Fort Sill, Oklahoma, while a wind gust of 61 mph (98.17 kph) was reported near Kamay, Texas.
    • On July 8, 2019, a wind gust of 60 mph (96.56 kph) was reported near Matador, Texas.
    • On July 9, 2019, a wind gust of 67 mph (107.83 kph) was reported during a thunderstorm at Stennis International Airport near Diamondhead, Mississippi.
    • On July 10, 2019, wind gusts of 78 mph (125.53 kph) and 77 mph (123.92 kph) were reported near Lubbock, Texas and Corinth, Texas, respectively.
    • On July 11, 2019, wind gusts of 67 mph (107.83 kph) and 65 mph (104.61 kph) were reported near Rollover, Texas and Lamesa, Texas, respectively.
    • On July 13, 2019, a brief EF-0 tornado was reported near Macedonia, Mississippi. No injuries were reported.
    • On July 14, 2019, there were three tornadoes reported in Louisiana and one tornado reported in Texas.
    • On July 16, 2019, a tornado was reported near Red Banks, Mississippi.
    • On July 17, 2019, a wind gust of 60 mph (96.56 kph) was reported near Castolon, Texas.
    • On July 26, 2019, a waterspout moved ashore near South Padre Island, Texas.
    • On July 29, 2019, a wind gust of 66 mph (106.22 kph) was reported near Tulsa, Oklahoma.
    • On July 30, 2019, a wind gust of 64 mph (103.00 kph) was reported at the Johnson Space Center near Nassau Bay, Texas.
  • For more information, please visit the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Western Region (Information provided by the Western Region Climate Center)

  • Precipitation was generally below normal across much of the Western U.S. with the exception of some spotty monsoon rainfall events, which impacted isolated areas in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Overall, the monsoon season has had a slow start across much of Desert Southwest as well as in the higher elevations of the Intermountain West. In the Pacific Northwest, precipitation for the month was near normal to slightly above normal across much of the drought-stricken areas of western Washington and northwestern Oregon. Average temperatures were generally near normal to cooler than normal across much of the West with the exception of the Desert Southwest, Colorado Plateau, and Southern Rocky Mountains where temperatures were above normal.
  • In the Southwest, isolated areas of eastern and northern New Mexico observed above-average precipitation. Across much of Arizona, precipitation was below normal with Tucson International Airport reporting 1.07 inches (27 mm - 48% of normal), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 0.17 inches (4 mm - 16% of normal), and Flagstaff Pulliam Airport 0.72 inches (18 mm - 28% of normal).
  • In the Pacific Northwest, drought conditions have persisted into the summer months in portions of northern and western Washington, northwestern Oregon, northern Idaho, and northwestern Montana. Since the beginning of the Calendar Year (Jan 1), cumulative precipitation deficits across western Washington have ranged from 4 to 20+ inches with areas in the Cascade Range and Olympic Peninsula experiencing the largest deficits. However, some beneficial rainfall (2 to 3.5 inch accumulations) was observed in July in these areas providing some limited improvement in drought-related conditions.
  • In the Intermountain West, above-normal precipitation was observed in isolated areas of the eastern and western Great Basin as well as southern Utah where the NWS COOP station in Boulder, Utah recorded 1.73 inches (44 mm – 180% of normal) for the month. In Colorado, isolated areas of west-central Colorado experienced above-normal precipitation including the NWS COOP station at Colorado National Monument, which received 1.4 inches (36 mm – 169% of normal).
  • Average temperatures across the northern tier of the region were near to slightly below normal while large portions of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah experienced above-normal temperatures. The greatest departures were observed in southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico. In southern New Mexico, the Truth or Consequences Municipal Airport reported an average temperature of 84.1°F (28.9°C) which was a +4.5 F° (2.5°C) departure from normal and the second warmest on record dating back to 1950.
  • In the Pacific Northwest, near normal to slightly cooler-than-normal temperatures were observed across the region. In Montana, the Bozeman Airport reported an average temperature of 65.8°F (18.8°C) which was 3.6°F (2.0°C) below normal. In the Great Basin, average temperatures generally hovered within a few degrees of normal across much of the region. However, some daily high temperature records were broken in Nevada including 99°F (37.2°C) at Reno-Tahoe International Airport on July 12, 22, and 28.
  • In Alaska, temperatures were well above normal in association with a large dome of high pressure that settled in over the region from July 4-8 leading to numerous high temperature records being broken around the state including: Anchorage 90°F (32.2°C);. Kenai, 89°F (31.7°C); Palmer, 88°F (31.1°C); King Salmon, 89°F (31.7°C); Kotzebue, 81°F (27.2°C); and Utqiaġvik, 66°F (18.9°C).
  • In the Hawaiian Islands, average temperatures were mainly above normal across the island chain for the month. Molokai Airport reported an average temperature of 81.2°F (27.3°C), which was 3.5°F (1.9°C) above normal and the third warmest July since records began in 1949. Additionally, a number of single-day record high temperatures were broken across the islands during July including 97°F (36.1°C) at Kahului Airport, Maui on July 29 and 88°F (31.1°C) at Lihue Airport, Kauai on July 24-25 and 30-31.
  • Significant Events for July 2019
    • July (all month) - Extreme heat and wildland fires in Alaska: Numerous all-time record high temperatures were observed across the state during the beginning of the month including record highs at Alaska’s three largest cities - Anchorage 90°F (32.2°C), Fairbanks 87°F (30.6°C), and Juneau 83°F (28.3°C). For the entire month, numerous cities and towns across Alaska experienced their warmest average temperatures on record including: Anchorage 65.3°F (6.5° F above normal), King Salmon 61.2°F (5.7°F above normal), Kotzebue 63.8°F (9.2°F above normal), Utqiaġvik 48.3°F (7.4°F above normal), and Yakutat 59.6°F (5.3°F above normal). The excessive heat and below-normal precipitation exacerbated wildland fire conditions across parts of the state where a reported 1.93 million acres burned in July.
    • July (end of month) - Arctic sea ice extent at all-time low levels:According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the Arctic sea ice extent dipped to a new record low extent of 2.93 million square miles (7.59 million square kilometers) surpassing the past record low monthly average extent set in 2012.
  • For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Climate Report for July 2019, published online August 2019, retrieved on August 18, 2019 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/201907.

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