South-central heat outweighs record coolness in Pacific Northwest
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. was feeling the heat in July, as the average temperature across the country soared 2.7 degrees above the long-term average. The 77-degree reading was the fourth-warmest July on record and also the fourth-warmest month ever for the U.S.
The near-record reading resulted from extremely high temperatures in the south-central part of the country, where Texas and Oklahoma both reported their warmest-ever months. Across Oklahoma, the temperature averaged a blistering 88.9 degrees, with Texas just a few degrees lower, at 87.1 degrees. The Oklahoma reading surpassed the old record by 0.8 degrees, set in July 1954, according to the July summary from the National Climatic Data Center.
By contrast, a big part of the country west of the Rocky Mountains reported near- or even below-normal temperatures, especially in coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, a persistent trough-ridge pattern with low pressure in the Northwest resulted in Washington reporting the coolest ever three-month May-July period on record. The larger Northwest climate region reported its third-coolest May-July period on record, while the western climate region reported the 10th-coolest.
The year-to-date has been the driest on record for Texas and New Mexico, with above-normal precipitation for the northern tier of states.
Dallas heated up to 100 degrees or more on all but one day during July, and in Oklahoma City, July was the warmest single calendar month on record, averaging 89.2 degrees for the month. That topped the previous record of 88.7 degrees, set in the hot 1930s, specifically July 1936.
All of Oklahoma is classified as experiencing moderate or severe drought, while three-quarters of Texas is under severe drought conditions, leading to the biggest national drought footprint in the 12-year history of the U.S. drought monitor. In some parts of Texas and Oklahoma, drought is so severe it would require 20 inches of rain in a single month to catch up.
Across the country, 78 locations broke all-time high readings for the month, with another 218 stations reporting all-time daily warm low-temperature records.
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for July 2011, published online August 2011, retrieved on August 9, 2011 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2011/7.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, global warming Tagged: | climate, July 2011 temperatures, July 4th-hottest ever, National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, record high temperatures U.S., State of the Climate, Summit County News, Texas drought, Texas heat wave, U.S. temperature records