Wet, Wetter, Wettest Makes July No. 5 in Record Books

Extremes in precipitation was the weather highlight of July, with last month ranking as the fifth-wettest July on record nationwide, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s monthly weather summary report released Tuesday.

July was also 30th-warmest such month on record in the contiguous U.S. with the temperature 0.8°F above the 20th century average.

Cars navigate a flooded street on a rainy July day in Dover, Del.
Credit: Jeffrey/flickr

Last month brought extremes in weather to the extremes of the country: July was Alaska’s fifth-warmest on record, Florida’s wettest on record and Oregon’s driest on record. Oregon received only 0.03 inches of rainfall last month — 0.41 inches below its average. At the opposite extreme, Florida received 12.38 inches of rainfall last month — 4.38 inches above average.

The South’s Atlantic coast states all saw a July ranking among their top 10 wettest. Nationally, the precipitation average for July was 3.47 inches, or about 0.71 inches above the 20th century average.

Yet, drought is still gripping 45.6 percent of the contiguous U.S., where it is concentrated in the Central and Southern Great Plains and parts of the Southwest — areas that also saw greater-than-normal precipitation in July.

Thanks to ample monsoonal moisture, July in the drought-stricken Four Corners states — Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah — ranked as the 7th wettest on record regionally.

Temperature extremes were less common last month than precipitation extremes.

Salt Lake City and Reno, Nev., set records last month for their warmest July, and Massachusetts and Rhode Island set similar statewide records.

July 2013 Precipitation Totals.
Credit: NOAA

Record warm and cool daily highs and lows across the country in July were roughly the same, according to NOAA’s analysis.

For the year so far, 2013 is bringing drought and high temperatures to the West and plenty of rainfall and cooler weather to the East.

Nationally, six cities — all in the West — are seeing their temperatures rank in the top 10 warmest on record for the year through July, including Barrow, Alaska; Yakima, Wash.; Carson City, Nev.; Phoenix; and Las Vegas — all between 1.2 and 3.1°F above year-to-date average. Fresno, Calif., tops that list, with its year-to-date average temperature, 67.1°F, 3.1 degrees above normal.

Pacific Northwest cities, including San Francisco; Eugene, Ore., are seeing their driest year on record through July.

Eugene, the standout among those cities, has received only 9.7 inches so far this year — 15.7 inches below normal.

Thirteen cities in NOAA’s analysis are having their wettest years on record, mostly in the South and Upper Midwest. Asheville, N.C., tops that list, with its year-to-date rainfall 24.6 inches above normal.

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