• Climate: The heat is on! In-depth analysis of summer rankings; what's to come

    By: Irene Sans

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - In the heat of the summer months it is easy to talk about hot temperatures, but extreme hot temperatures and their collateral effects have brought much more to the weather news world in July. Let’s review some statistics about the month of July globally, nationally and locally.

     


    July in the contiguous U.S.

     

    The temperatures:
    Temperatures were above average in the first seven months of the year, making it the 11th warmest months to date. This marks the 25th consecutive year where January through July months (the first seven months of the year) have been above the 20st century average.

     

    FACT: Stretch from May, June and July was the hottest on record for the lower 48 (NOAA)

     

    The average temperature for July in the contiguous U.S. was 75.5 degrees -- that’s 1.9 degrees above the month's average high. It was the 11th warmest July on record. In the nation, daily warm temperatures outpaced cold temperatures in July; for every five daily warm records there was one record for cold temperature.


    FACT: California had its warmest July on record (124-year history)

     

    So far, this year temperatures have had large swings month-to-month east of the Rockies. Arizona and New Mexico had record warm temperatures so far this year.

     

    Scroll down for video

     

    Central Florida temperature rankings:

    Temperatures were close to their average value for July. Orlando’s average temperature was 82.3 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the 23rd warmest on record. Daytona Beach’s average temperature was 81.7 degrees, the 16th warmest on record for this location.
     

    FACT: Florida had its 13th warmest July on record


    FACT: Florida's July 2018 becomes the 60th consecutive month with above-average temperatures

     

     

    Summer days above normal in Orlando - the trend is increasing.
    Summer days above normal in Orlando - the trend is increasing.
    Climate Central

    The 30-year average temperature, known as the meteorological normal, is rising in most locations in the U.S.
    The 30-year average temperature, known as the meteorological normal, is rising in most locations in the U.S.
    Climate Central

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    Precipitation:
    The lower 48 stayed near to slightly above-average rainfall. There were some extremes within this average range. It was very wet across parts of the northeast, especially for parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland. In fact, it was the second wettest July on record for Maryland. A monsoon brought above-average precipitation across the southwest. Very dry conditions prevailed in the northwest where below average conditions persisted.

    Near average precipitation and cooler conditions across the northern plains resulted in high corn crops, but drought just to the south of the Midwest has resulted in drought conditions which has affected crop production.

     

    Local precipitation:

    Daytona Beach received 8.98 inches of rain in the month of July, making it the 18th wettest July for this station. Orlando received 9.24 inches, reaching the 34th spot with the highest July rainfall on record.


    Drought currently:

    At the end of July, 34.1 percent of the United States was in a drought. The drought expanded in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, thick layers of Saharan dust covered the island several times during this period, limiting shower and thunderstorm activity. El Niño in the winter will likely make this drought worse if it persists during the next few months in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean Islands.

     

    ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee talks to Climate Central's CEO & Chief Scientist Ben Strauss

     

    Read: CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS

     

    California wildfires:

    Significant fire potential is likely to continue through November as it will likely stay warmer and drier than normal. Lightning has not been much of an issue in the west which has sparked fires. The human factor has sparked fires and the natural conditions, such as drought, have caused the fires to propagate.

     

    How did they get here?
    The temperatures continue to rise. At night, temperatures drop and the humidity tends to go up, allowing vegetation to become a bit more moist. But if the temperatures remain high, the humidity remains lower, therefore increasing the chances for fires to continue, affecting the firefighting operations, increasing fires and smoke production.

     

    FACT: Six of California’s most destructive fires have happened since 2017.

     

     

    THE OUTLOOK THROUGH NOVEMBER - EL NIÑO, THE WEST AND THE TROPICS

     

    During an El Niño winter, the jet stream is displaced to the south, enhancing more storm activity along California. Rain can aid vegetation growth which creates more fuel for future fires.

    Some of the El Niño effects could limit tropical activity in the Atlantic during the last stretch of the hurricane season. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center strength can be weak or moderate. The likelihood of El Niño occurring can be forecast, but no forecast is produced about El Niño’s strength.

     

    Read more: Favorable El Niño pattern for winter, but would Central Florida care?

     Eye on the Tropics: Tropical Weather News

     

    As of now, the forecast calls for a high chance for this pattern to develop, but it is less likely that we will see a strong El Niño in the winter.

     

     

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