Heavy rain and severe dry spells are some of the weather extremes that come along with climate change. For examples, look no further than this summer across the U.S. Extreme and exceptional drought stretches from the Midwest to the West Coast, while flooding and downpours have drenched the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. On the graphic above, you will see the accumulated rainfall from the last 60 days across the continental U.S. based on data from the NOAA/NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. (For those of you that like or need to tailor the graphic to your station's look, we are now including a graphic without the title so that you can add your own station's title and bar.)
The Pacific Northwest and northern California, in particular, were unusually dry. Summer is generally the driest part of the year for Seattle, but this July has been extreme with only a trace of rain recorded for the entire month. During this dry stretch, wildfires have been growing in number and size across the Northwest. Meanwhile, the recent heavy rain has provided some relief to drought-stricken areas across the Southwest, Texas, and Oklahoma, but not enough to bring the region out of the drought that has devastated the area since last year.
Farther east, it's a completely different story. Rounds of record breaking rain have soaked the Southeast. Both Ashville and Greenville-Spartanburg, NC have recorded their wettest July on record. This comes on the heels of Macon, GA notching its wettest June ever. It’s not just monthly rainfall records that are falling, though. Farther north in Philadelphia, a whopping 8.02" of rain fell on July 28th with 7.35" falling in just four hours - an all-time daily record and a downpour that ranks as a one in one thousand year event. That put Philly on top of the record books for July monthly rainfall, following their wettest June ever.
Since certain stations are more specific with colors and looks, we had the ability this week to give you another graphic option. In this second graphic, we break down rainfall for July alone through percent of normal precipitation. You will find that this version draws out the pockets of heavy monsoonal driven rain across the Southwest, where as much as 300 percent of normal rainfall fell in areas of Utah and Arizona. At the same time, the overall trend of dry in the Northwest and soaked in the Southeast carried from June through July.
1) Extreme Weather 101: Climate Change and Precipitation
2) Extreme Weather 101: Drought & Our Changing Climate
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