Hot and cold pattern persists
FRISCO — A hot-and-cold pattern continued over the continental U.S. in July, with some western states reporting record and near-record warmth, while parts of the Midwest were record cold for the month.
Overall, the average temperature in the contiguous 48 states was 0.3 degrees below average, at 73.3 degrees, ranking July near the middle of the pack in the 120-year period of record, according the latest monthly update from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. It was the coolest July for the Lower 48 since 2009, and also the 26th driest, with average precipitation about a quarter inch below average, according to the NCDC. Read the full report here.
The coolest temperatures were in the Midwest and parts of the South. Indiana and Arkansas both reported record-cool July temperatures. The cooler than average July was reflected by daily temperature records. According to the NCDC, there were more than twice as many record cool temperatures during July (5,508) than record warm temperatures (2,605).
Most of the cool temperature records (3,333) were cool daytime readings, while most of the warm temperature records (1,882) were nighttime readings.
Hot conditions prevailed from the Intermountain West to the Pacific Coast. Six states had one of their 10 warmest Julys on record, but no state was record warm for the month. Western heat worsened drought conditions in some areas, but an early and strong monsoon brought some relief to the southern Rockies, including New Mexico, where Albuquerque recorded 3.49 inches of precipitation, making it the 4th wettest July in a 118-year record.
Typical of the hit-or-miss monsoon rains, Phoenix only picked up 0.06 inches of rain in July, just 6 percent of average, making it the 4th-driest July on record, while Flagstaff tallied 4.32 inches of rain, 166 percent of average.
In Colorado, Boulder reported 4.57 inches of rain, making it the 5th-wettest July on record.
Some of the biggest departures from normal were reported from the interior Northwest, where a persistent ridge of high pressure resulted in dry and warm conditions all month long. Sandpoint, in the Idaho panhandle, reported 0.02 in this month, 1 percent of normal tying for 7th driest July in a 104-year record.
Many locations in the inland Northwest, northern California, and the northern Great Basin saw one of their top-10 hottest Julys on record.Reno, Nevada and Mt. Shasta City both reported record-warm readings, as did Medford, Oregon and Yakima, Washington.
Alaska was warm and wet for the month, especially along the western Gulf of Alaska coast and the Alaska Peninsula, where Cold Bay reported an all-time record warm July. Fairbanks and Juneau both had their second wettest July on record.
For the year to date, the average temperature across the U.S. was near average, but the coldest such period since 1993.
Information compiled from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for July 2014, published online August 2014, retrieved on August 12, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2014/7.