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July 2013 the 30th Warmest July on Record for the U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 9:40 PM GMT on August 13, 2013

July 2013 was the 30th warmest July in the contiguous U.S. since record keeping began in 1895, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in their latest State of the Climate report. A persistent trough of low pressure over the middle of the country brought unusually cool conditions there, and strong ridges of high pressure over both the East Coast and West Coast brought unusually warm conditions to the West and Northeast. Massachusetts had its warmest July on record, and ten other states in the Northeast and West had top-ten warmest Julys on record. Four southern states had top-ten coolest Julys on record. The number of record warm highs and lows was roughly the same as the number of record cold highs and lows during July. For the year-to-date period January - July, both temperature and precipitation over the contiguous U.S. have been above normal, ranking in the upper 35% and 21% of years, respectively.

According to NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI), which tracks the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% and bottom-10% extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought, July extremes were slightly above average, and the year-to-date period January - July 2013 was also slightly above average.


Figure 1. Historical temperature ranking for the U.S. for July 2013. Massachusetts had its warmest July on record, and nine other states in the Northeast and West had top-ten warmest Julys on record. Five southern states had top-ten coolest Julys on record. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Wet July increases tropical storm flood risk
It was a very wet July for the contiguous U.S., ranking as the 5th wettest July since 1895. Florida had its wettest July on record, and twelve other states, ten of them in the Eastern U.S., had top-ten wettest Julys on record. As a result, soil moisture levels are high over portions of the Eastern U.S., increasing the chances of damaging flooding should a tropical storm or hurricane hit. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model keeps the Southeast U.S. under a very wet weather pattern through August, and the latest 1-month and 3-month precipitation outlooks from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center also give the Southeast above-average chances of wetter than average conditions. Lake Okeechobee in Florida is 2.1' above average for this time of year, and nearly 6' higher than two years ago. This puts the lake just 4" below what is considered high water, and Lake Okeechobee water levels are a concern as we head into the peak part of hurricane season.


Figure 2. Historical precipitation ranking for the U.S. for July 2013. Florida had its wettest July on record, and twelve other states had top-ten wettest Julys on record. Oregon had its driest July on record, and Washington and Oregon also had a top-ten driest July. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).


Figure 3. Soil moisture for August 12, 2013, expressed as percent average of the soil moisture observed between 1916 - 2004. Portions of the Eastern U.S. have high soil moisture levels, increasing the odds of damaging flooding should a tropical storm or hurricane hit this year. Texas and Western Louisiana are dry, and could use the rains from a tropical storm. Image credit: University of Washington Variable Infiltration Capacity Macro-scale Hydrological Model, which includes soil moisture, snow water equivalent, and runoff.

Drought conditions remained relatively unchanged during June and July. According to the August 6 Drought Monitor report, about 45% of the contiguous U.S. is still in moderate or greater drought, compared to 44% at the beginning of June. The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook issued on July 18 calls for little overall change in the U.S. area covered by drought conditions through October. Despite the drought, the year-to-date total acreage burned by wildfires is the second lowest in the past ten years.

Jeff Masters

Climate Summaries

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

1501. SRQfl
Well, I am off to mow the lawn before it gets too stinking hot. I leave you with this.
1502. Grothar
Quoting 1500. PensacolaDoug:
(no offense, Doug)


None taken.


You little lurker, you.
Quoting 1497. Grothar:




Hey Gro, 92L starting to get that look to it. Its that system that we always wonder what you happen if a cyclone transverse the High TCHP over the NW Caribbean and the loop current in the Gulf?!
1504. hydrus
Quoting 1446. KoritheMan:


I always thought that's what the models were seeing all along.
Some models had the system forming south and moving west..Good Morning Kori.
Quoting 1485. hydrus:
Funny you should mention that. We were saying this morning that what ever becomes of 92L passes west of Mid TN, we will have serious flooding issues. With that said, it will be in the 50,s here tonight...gotta love it ya know..


I wish that cool weather would reach down into the FL Panhandle but it's still just a little too early for that to happen. The best we'll get over the next 10 days is maybe a day or two where the low will be in the low 70's. I can't wait until we get some lows that hit the 50's and 60's!
TXNT24 KNES 141223
TCSNTL

A. TROPICAL DISTURBANCE (93L)

B. 14/1200Z

C. 12.5N

D. 20.8W

E. FIVE/MET-10

F. TOO WEAK

G. IR/EIR/VIS

H. REMARKS...CONVECTION TO THE WEST AND SOUTH OF THE CENTER OF
CIRCULATION IS LIMITED...LARGELY LINEAR AND FAILS TO EXCEED 2/10 BANDING
MAKING THE SYSTEM TOO WEAK TO CLASSIFY.

I. ADDL POSITIONS

NIL


...TURK


Link
1507. hydrus
Quoting 1501. SRQfl:
Well, I am off to mow the lawn before it gets too stinking hot. I leave you with this.
The MJO doom square...thank you so much...:0
Quoting 1490. Grothar:
This is the GFS ensemble model. 3 days ago I said 92L would hit 2 miles west of Destin, Florida and move over De Funiak Springs, (no offense, Doug)



Me too Gro and boy did I take some flack. You were on here as well and said nothing while my feet were being held to the fire. Literally because Levi called a track toward TX or Mexico and I said he would be wrong with that. I also said I thought this would be a 80mph to 100mph system at landfall near Cedar Key but the track me need to be nudge a little west toward IKE town:)
1509. Walshy
1510. StormWx
Quoting StormTrackerScott:
I would say a cat1 or cat2 at landfall on the FL Panhandle. This won't be a weak system that many on here believe it will be. Again the blog has been spoiled the last several years with many weak Gulf systems. Not the case this year.



You have a pretty awesome crystal ball! Have you applied for a position at the NWS? Or the Navy? You probably should since you know exactly whats going to happen.
Quoting 1470. StormTrackerScott:
I would say a cat1 or cat2 at landfall on the FL Panhandle. This won't be a weak system that many on here believe it will be. Again the blog has been spoiled the last several years with many weak Gulf systems. Not the case this year.



Any time a system enters the Gulf, especially in mid to late August demands attention; however, I do think many variables would have to line up in order for this system to be able to make the most of it's time over Gulf waters. If it does become more intense than what guidance suggests it will be when it's making it's last run into land. I still think this invest is going to take more time to consolidate, although it's doing it's darndest.

Really looks like the season is busting isn't it lol. A couple long months ahead of us I believe...

JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting 1503. Hurricanes305:


Hey Gro, 92L starting to get that look to it. Its that system that we always wonder what you happen if a cyclone transverse the High TCHP over the NW Caribbean and the loop current in the Gulf?!



You don't want too no with light wind shear in the gulf and this can really ramp up the gulf coast needs too start getting there homes ready for a cat 2 3. 4 or 5 storm I got a bad feeling about this and this could be a lot stronger then what mode runs are showing
Quoting 1492. stormwatcherCI:
Not SE of the Cayman Islands . SW.


Quoting 1496. MahFL:
Looks like a definite coc SW of Caymans.


Nah I'd say more like S of Cayman

I see developing circulation located near 17.2N 81.3W
I would put the center right around 17.8N and 82.5W has the potential to undergo the worse case scenario and go through the Yucatan channel.

1516. Grothar
None of the models have 92L very strong yet




1517. hydrus
Quoting 1505. 69Viking:


I wish that cool weather would reach down into the FL Panhandle but it's still just a little too early for that to happen. The best we'll get over the next 10 days is maybe a day or two where the low will be in the low 70's. I can't wait until we get some lows that hit the 50's and 60's!
There is a chance this system will bring you that shot of cool air. Strong lows can yank a lot of cold air from up north into the panhandle. I have seen it many times. Sorta like this..

1518. IKE

Quoting 69Viking:


IKE not looking good for us in the Panhandle. With this trough sinking down over the area today we'll be getting some more rain and then if it pulls whatever tropical system forms up here it's going to get ugly. Sigh, just when my front yard was almost dried out. Made it 3 days without rain again but doesn't look good for a 4th!
Just checked my gauge. Had .46 yesterday.

Yes...we don't need rain and certainly not winds.
Quoting 1510. StormWx:


You have a pretty awesome crystal ball! Have you applied for a position at the NWS? Or the Navy? You probably should since you know exactly whats going to happen.

When are you going to stop harassing Scott?
1520. pcola57
Quoting 1475. 69Viking:


IKE not looking good for us in the Panhandle. With this trough sinking down over the area today we'll be getting some more rain and then if it pulls whatever tropical system forms up here it's going to get ugly. Sigh, just when my front yard was almost dried out. Made it 3 days without rain again but doesn't look good for a 4th!


Good Morning Viking/Everyone..
I had a few drenching boomers yesterday and more in store for both of us today and possibly again tomorrow..
Really really wet here..
I haven't run the spinkling system but twice this year..
I'm not liking how things are going tropics wise..
All my plans are in place but that won't make a hill of beans if we get T/C soakers and winds..
I think this year my threshold to bail out is lower..
Going with a solid Cat. 2 or above and I'm outta here..
Don't want to be around when the ancient infrastructure here fails and have to go through that again..
Anyway..
Todays looking wet..









Quoting 1489. SouthernIllinois:
Morning from the Woods!

Another splendid day today in Little Egypt. Nothing but bright sunshine! Cool temperatures prevailing though. Not exactly pool weather but good hiking weather!!

Natalie



Good morning back at you! Muggy and wet in NW Florida and the potential for a tropical system coming our way this weekend, oh joy.
1522. HCW
Did anyone else notice that even with Florida's wettest month on record, Soil moisture was mostly average across the state and only a tick above that in the Southern portion of the state.
That should help show how dry the situation has been.
Lake Okeechobee made the blog! It is too bad the water is full of nutrients or it would be a real boon to the Everglades. As it stands the relief canals are dumping a mess of water into the lagoons and estuaries to harmful effects there.
Also the wet conditions have filled up many Georgia lakes, which seems strange because Apalachicola's declaration as disaster due to lack of fresh water down river, in the oyster beds there, was just declared.
It seems an odd moment of plenty to be pushing for enforcement of interstate water treaties, but that is where governor Scott is focused.
I also wanted to take a moment to celebrate the high and low temperature records being roughly equal. This may not be an average temperature month, but it has been a long time since the low temp records have approached the highs.
NEW BLOG!!
Thanks Cane!
I thought it was me.
1527. GatorWX
Sure looks like a depression and nobody I talk to here even knows it's there.
1528. GatorWX
I'm beginning to question whether this may end up being another system that can't really link up their vorticies. I know the surface obs I've seen would indicate a surface low, I'm not totally convinced. Even so, this just looks like another Dorian. I'll say, it has improved its structural appearance considerably today. I'm curious if anyone has a theory on why storms have been so stubborn the last 3-5 years. They seem to be becoming more prevelent anyway. I understand the significance of the dust way out there. Dorian and Chantal probably aren't the best analogs given the different environment, but those who have been really paying attention, doesn't it seem these weak trof like systems are becoming more and more common. We keep seeing a lot of weak systems that never actually develop. I have only really been spending a lot of time studying the tropics for 10-11 years, thanks Internet!, so perhaps I sound a bit naive saying so. If anyone has an opinion or theory I'd be curious.