July 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary

Published: 7:02 PM GMT on August 05, 2011

July 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary

July was yet another busy month for global weather extremes. Highlights included record-busting heat in the central and eastern portions of the U.S.A. as well as in the Middle East and China. Torrential rains caused devastating flooding on the Korean peninsula and a blizzard produced extraordinary snowfall in southern Chile.

Below are some of the month’s highlights.


July was one of the hottest months on record for the southern plains region and a heat wave in the mid-Atlantic on July 20-23 broke some long established all-time absolute maximum temperature records. Perhaps the single most astonishing figure was the 108° temperature record set at Newark, NJ on July 22nd. This crushed the former record of 105° (last reached in August 2001). Dulles Airport near Washington D.C. set their all-time record with 105° the same day, as did Hartford, Connecticut with 103°. Trenton, New Jersey tied their all-time record with an amazing 106°, a figure not repeated since the great July 1936 heat wave. Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut also tied their all-time heat records with readings of 103° and 101° respectively. Boston’s 103° was just shy of its all-time record of 104° set almost exactly 100 years ago in 1911.

A young girl cools off in the Fort Worth, Texas stockyards on July 11th. As of August 5th the Dallas-Fort Worth area has endured 35 consecutive days above 100°, just 7 short of the record 42 day stretch set during the summer of 1980. Photo by Max Faulkner/The Fort Worth Star Telegram.

In the southern plains it wasn’t the absolute maximums but rather the persistence of the heat that set records. For almost all of Oklahoma, Kansas, northern and central Texas, and western Arkansas, this past July has been either the hottest, 2nd or 3rd hottest month on record, (along with the July’s of 1934, 1936, and 1980). Fort Smith, Arkansas recorded its hottest month on record with an average of 91.1° (former record 89.2° in July 1934). Furthermore, Fort Smith obliterated its record for longest consecutive stretch of 100°+ days with 33 days as of this writing (Aug. 5) and STILL counting! The previous longest such stretch was 17 days during the summer of 1934. Tulsa, Oklahoma had 26 days of the month exceed 100°, just one day short of the most such which was 27 in July 1934 and tied with the 26 days during the famous heat waves of August 1936 and July 1980. The following cities endured their hottest single month on record:

Furthermore, the heat has actually cranked up since the end of July with Fort Smith, Arkansas breaking their all-time heat record with a 115° reading on August 2nd (old record of 113° set during the infamous heat wave of 1936).

Associated with the intense heat is the worsening drought situation where now 12% of the country (mostly in Texas) is experiencing ‘exceptional’ drought conditions, the largest areal coverage of such since NOAA’s Drought Monitor began keeping track of this in the late 1970s.

Meanwhile, the west coast experienced a much cooler than normal month (like the ‘frigid’ July of 2010) with departures from normal being -1.7° at Seattle, -1.4° at Portland, -1.1° at San Francisco, and -2.1° at Los Angles.

The coldest temperature measured in the northern hemisphere was -10.5°F (-23.6°C) on July 1st at Summit station on Greenland’s icecap.


A remarkable snowstorm blanketed a region of southern Chile (the Araucania region) with several feet of snow. Worst hit was the town of Lonquimay and surrounding areas which were buried under 2.3 meters (90”) of snow--although it is not clear if these were drift measurements or level measurements. A state of emergency was declared and 6,500 people were isolated for three days before bulldozers cleared access roads to the town. Following the storm temperatures fell to as low as -23°C (-9.4°F) in the region.

Deep snow buries the town of Longuimay, Chile in mid-July. Photo by Shawn Carpenter.

The warmest temperature measured in the southern hemisphere was 101.5°F (38.6°C) at Concaicao do Araguala, Paraguay on July 31st.


It was a generally weather-extremes-free month for Europe. A heat wave in Sardinia early in the month produced an all-time heat record of 42.2°C (108°F) at Olbia-Costa. The record warm spring caused an unusually early snow melt in the Alps and Zugspitze Peak in Germany was snow-free by July 10th, the earliest such on record.


The intense drought in the Horn of Africa, said to be the worst in 60 years, persisted and famine has been reported in southern Somalia leading to an international aid crisis.


Intense heat in the Middle East and southern Russia (Asian section) has lead to a slew of national records being broken. These include 44.3°C (111.7°F) at Divnoe in Russia’s Kalmykia Republic (edging out last summer’s record of 44.0°C (111.2°F) at Yashkul, 53°C (127.4°F) at Dehloran, Iran on July 28th was a new national record for Iran and the hottest temperature measured in the world during July. Kuwait also set a new national heat record with a reading of 52.8°C (127.0°F) at Mitrabah on July 15th, as did Iraq with a 52.3°C (126.1°F) at Al Diwinya on July 30th. UPDATE: This record has since been exceeded in Iraq in early August. Armenia also broke its national heat record with a reading of 43.7° (110.7°F) at Meghri on July 31st (old record was 43.1°C/109.6°F at the same location on August 11,2005).

China also broke its national heat record for both inhabited and uninhabited locations on July 15th when the temperature soared to 50.2°C (122.4°F) at a RAWS site near Adyngkol Lake (just south of Turfan), and 49.4°C (120.9°F) at the town of Tuyoq. This brings to 7 the number of national heat records broken so far this year (China, Russia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Rep. of Congo).

The heaviest rainfall since 1907 inundated Seoul with 473.5mm (18.64”) of precipitation on July 26-28 of which a July record for 24 hours of 301.5mm (11.87”) fell on July 27th. Up to 25.2” was reported in 48 hours in Dongducheon. Landslides in the city outskirts killed at least 71 people by the latest count. North Korea also reported “dozens of deaths” from flooding and landslides. An incredible but unattributed video of a landslide and flooding in the Seoul area was posted by Reuters News Agency recently.

Typhoon Ma-on skirted Japan’s southern shoreline on July 19-20th with wind gusts up to 100mph and record torrential rainfall. A calendar day all-time national record for rainfall was set at Umaji, Kochi Prefecture when 33.52” (851.5mm) fell on July 19th. The 24-hour record for Japan remains the 44.80” that fell on Hiso, Tokushima on September 11-12, 1976, also during the passage of a typhoon.

Typhoon Nock-ten slammed into the Philippines on July 28th killing at least 52 and then hit the north coast of Vietnam on July 31st causing more fatalities (unknown number at this time).


July was a mostly average month for Australia. A cold wave on July 25-29th sent temperatures plunging to their lowest since 1983 in Tasmania (-11.2°C/11.8°F at Liawenee on the 23rd) and since 1994 at Canberra (-8.0°C/17.6°F on the 29th).

For the month the temperature extremes ranged from a low of -16.0°C (3.2°F) at Charlotte Pass, NSW on the 27th to a high of 35.5°C (95.9°F) at Noonamah, NT on the 17th. The heaviest calendar day rainfall was reported from Terrey Hills, NSW with 130.4mm (5.13”) on the 22nd.


The coldest temperature in the southern hemisphere and the world during July was -103.5°F (-75.3°C) recorded at Concordia station on July 26th.

KUDOS Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera for global temperature extremes data and other useful information as always.

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About The Author
Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.

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July 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary

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