Weather Extremes

A Brief Comparison of Hurricane Irene to Hurricane Floyd

By: weatherhistorian, 9:11 PM GMT on August 31, 2011

A Brief Comparison of Hurricane Irene to Hurricane Floyd

Given the similarities of the catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Irene this past weekend and Floyd in September 1999, I thought I would prepare this mini-blog on the subject for those interested.

The Paths of Irene and Floyd

As can be seen by comparing the two maps below, both storms originated around the 15° north latitude line although Irene originally developed considerably further to the west of Floyd (about 58° W longitude versus 50° W for Floyd. Floyd’s initial forward motion was slower than that of Irene and Floyd passed well north of the Hispaniola although both storm ended up affecting the Bahamas. Both storms first struck the U.S. mainland in North Carolina although Floyd made landfall about 100 miles further south over the Wilmington area versus Irene’s landfall over the Outer Banks region. Floyd, at its most intense, was a much stronger storm than Irene with a minimum central pressure of 921mb (27.20”) when it was approaching the Bahamas whereas Irene bottomed out at 942mb (27.82”) also in the Bahamas region.

Maximum Wind Speed Comparison Between Irene and Floyd

Floyd, at its, peak was a category 4 hurricane with sustained top winds of 155mph on September 13th, 1999 while just east of the Bahamas. Irene, at its peak, was a category 3 hurricane with 120mph-sustained winds on August 20th, 2011 while passing through the Bahamas. Since Floyd moved slightly further inland than Irene along the East Coast its winds rapidly diminished after making landfall in North Carolina. Below is a table of maximum wind gusts reported for each storm by state:

Maximum Storm Rainfall Comparison Between Irene and Floyd

For both storms it was the flooding rainfall that caused the most damage and fatalities. Below is a table of maximum storm totals by state for both storms:

NOTE: A WU reader is questioning the veracity of the Freehold Township, New Jersey measurement from Irene. If this figure is false, than Irene’s maximum storm rainfall for New Jersey would be 10.20” at Fort Wayne.

NASA has totaled the impressive rainfall from Hurricane Irene using highly precise microwave measurements from a satellite. However, some of these do not jibe with surface observations.

Rainfall storm total map of Floyd based upon surface observations.

Casualties and Damage

It is still too early to know what Irene’s final toll will be so far as deaths and storm damage, but as of this writing there have been 45 confirmed storm-related deaths attributed to Irene. Floyd is credited with 57 deaths and approximately $4.5 billion in damages in 1999 dollars.

Satellite image comparisons of Floyd (top) and Irene (lower) around the time they were making landfall or close to landfall. One can see that Irene had a much larger circulation than Floyd (the two images are not at the same scale—note the U.S. shoreline for comparisons.


Historic Hurricanes from New Jersey to New England: 1634-2011

By: weatherhistorian, 8:09 AM GMT on August 27, 2011

Historic Hurricanes from New Jersey to New England: 1634-2011

A very large though not intense hurricane is bearing down on the mid-Atlantic coastline as I write this Saturday morning August 27, 2011. This blog is a review of significant hurricanes that have in the past affected the New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, and Northeastern portions of the United States. I arrange this review in a chronological order beginning with the first European settlement of the northeastern United States in 1620.

17th Century

August 1635: The Great Colonial Hurricane
David Ludlum, America’s greatest weather historian, notes that Rev. Increase Mather reported in his treatise ‘Remarkable Providences’ (1684) that he had heard “of no other storm more dismal than the great hurricane which was in August 1635”. Ludlum writes “this was the greatest meteorological event of the colonial period in New England, coming only 15 years after the settlement of Plymouth Plantation in the Massachusetts Bay Colony”. John Winthrop and William Bedford witnessed the storm. It struck on August 16, 1635 and leveled the forests of the region. The native population agreed no such storm in their lore had been so powerful.

September 1675: A hurricane said to be almost as powerful as the 1635 strikes New London, Connecticut and Boston. Ludlum notes that this storm was equal to the hurricanes to strike Massachusetts and Connecticut in 1635, 1815, 1938, and 1944.

18th Century

No significant hurricanes in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic are on record aside from the tropical storm that struck Philadelphia on October 22, 1743; Benjamin Franklin measured it accurately using scientific weather measurements for the first time in United States history. The storm was not that significant otherwise. The most significant hurricane of in the 18th century would be the hurricane of September 1775. It “exacted a toll on human lives higher than any pervious American mainland hurricane” according to weather historian David M. Ludlum. 163 lives were lost on the North Carolina Capes and at sea off New England. The path of the storm followed one similar to Hurricane Hazel in 1954; inland over eastern Pennsylvania. Philadelphia harbor reported its highest tide on record.

Chronological list of known 17-18th Century New Jersey to New England Tropical Storms

August 1635
August 3, 1638
October 5, 1638
September 7, 1675
August 23, 1683
October 29, 1693
October 18, 1703
October 14, 1706
October 25, 1716
September 27, 1727
October 22, 1743
October 8, 1749
October 24, 1761
September 8, 1769
September 3, 1775
October 9,1783
August 19, 1788

19th Century

August 21-24, 1806: The hurricane of August 1806 was very similar to Irene. It made a short transit over Cape Hatteras and then slowly marched northeastward affecting only coastal regions (not even noticed 100 miles inland). New York City was “soundly lashed” and at least 21 sailors were lost off the New Jersey coast. Much damaged occurred on Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod.

September 23, 1815: ‘The Great Gale’ This hurricane ranked foremost in the minds of the population in New York and New England at the time. The storm passed east of New York City but hit Long Island soundly. The storm was similar to the 1938 hurricane in that it had a forward motion of 50mph as it plowed on to Long Island. The eye moved over eastern Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Like the great hurricane of 1938, Narragansett Bay, Rhode Isalnd was most affected. The area was sparsely populated at this time unlike 1938 and only two deaths were reported.

The Great Gale of 1815 inundates Providence, Rhode Island as depicted in this painting by John Russell Bartlett. Rhode Island Historical Society.

September 3, 1821: Last Time a Hurricane Passed Directly over New York City On September 3, 1821 the eye of a hurricane passed directly over New York City. The center crossed Long Island (where JKF Airport is now). Records indicate that this is the only MAJOR hurricane to have passed directly over the city in at least 250 years. The New York Post published this report on September 4th:

An article from the New York Post newspaper recounts the hurricane that lashed the city in 1821.

October 3, 1841: An intense hurricane brushed Cape Cod. 57 fishermen from the town of Truro died in seven vessels that foundered.

1869: Two major hurricanes including ‘Saxby’s Gale’ A tremendous hurricane pounded New England on September 8th, 1869. The eye cut across the eastern tip of Long Island and, as so often occurs, Providence, Rhode Island was swamped. Boston also reported extensive damage. On October 5, 1869 the more infamous hurricane known as ‘Saxby’s Gale’ took a more easterly track striking Nova Scotia, Canada full on. This hurricane did little damage in the United States. It is famous because a British Navy Lieutenant, S.M. Saxby, had predicted the storm almost one year earlier in November 1868 based upon his “prophesy” of an unprecedented lunar high tide occurring due to the moon’s close ‘passage to the equator by October 1869’. The storm did happen. In New England the result was extraordinary rainfall: 4.27” in two hours at Goffstown, New Hampshire and 12.25” storm total at Canton near Hartford, Connecticut, a similar total to those of Hurricane Connie in 1955.

Chronological list of known 19th Century New Jersey to New England Tropical Storms

October 9, 1804 (the famous snow hurricane)
August 23, 1806
September 23, 1815
September 3, 1821
June 4, 1825
October 3, 1841
October 13, 1846
October 7, 1849
July 19, 1850
August 22, 1850
September 11, 1854
August 19, 1856
September 15, 1858
September 8, 1869
October 5, 1869 (‘Saxby’s Gale’)
September 1877
October 24, 1878
August 1879
August 24, 1893
October 1, 1896

Great Hurricanes of the 20th Century New Jersey to New England

We reach more familiar territory here where good records and many accounts exist of the worst hurricanes in recent times for the region of New Jersey northward. I list only the most infamous for the sake of brevity.

September 16, 1903: Hurricane makes a direct hit on New Jersey.

September 15, 1904: Hurricane brings 100mph recorded wind gust to the Delmarva Peninsula

September 30, 1920: An exceptionally long period with no significant tropical storm activity ended on October 1, 1920 when a small but intense hurricane passed over Delaware and New Jersey and into central New York State.

October 23, 1923: Hurricane moves on shore over Chesapeake Bay and into Pennsylvania. Atlantic City, New Jersey reports 82mph wind gust.

September 21, 1938: After an almost unprecedented hiatus of 15 years, a powerful hurricane, perhaps the strongest since colonization (only the ‘Great Gale of 1815’ may have been an equal), struck Long Island and southeastern New England killing almost 700 people, mostly in Rhode Island. A peak wind gust of 186mph was recorded at the Blue Hill Observatory south Boston although the storm was a category 3 when it landed and most wind speeds were below 100mph. However, a huge storm surge and the lack of preparedness (due in part because of the length of time since a hurricane last hit the region) resulted in the tremendous loss of life, 7th greatest in U.S. history.

U.S. Weather Bureau map for the morning of September 21, 1938 shows the approaching storm.

September 14, 1944: Another category 3 hurricane slams New England. 390 died including maritime casualties. This was one of the most violent hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic with barometric pressure falling below 27.00” in the Bahamas before hitting Cape Hatteras (which recorded a pressure of 27.85”). The eye came ashore over eastern Long Island and then passed directly over Boston.

August 31, 1954: Hurricane Carol: 120mph winds lashed eastern Long Island, New York where the storm made landfall. 60 deaths were reported in New England. Barometric pressure fell to 28.35” near Montauk, Long Island at landfall. Providence was inundated by the storm surge. Carol was very similar to the 1938 and 1815 tropical storm events in New England.

Downtown Providence is inundated by a storm surge yet again, this time by Hurricane Carol in August 1954. Photo from the Providence Journal archives.

October 15, 1954: Hurricane Hazel: The highest wind speed ever measured in Manhattan, 113mph at the Battery, occurred during the passage of Hurricane Hazel. The storm killed 176 in New England and Canada. The center of the storm made landfall in Virginia and tracked west of New York City and into Ontario where even in Toronto it was still a category 1 hurricane. Irrelevant note: This was the hurricane I was born in at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

August 1955: Hurricanes Connie and Diane: These back-to-back hurricanes brought the heaviest rainfall and worst flooding in history to portions of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Up to 28” of rain fell in Torrington, Connecticut over the course of one week as a result of the storms. 200-225 died in the flooding caused by the tropical storms during August in southern New England. Neither storm, however, was a true hurricane by the time they reached New Jersey and New England.

Rainfall and storm track of Hurricane Diane in 1955.

September 12, 1960: Hurricane Donna: Donna, having devastated Florida moved up the east coast and made landfall over Long Island again. Sustained winds of 105mph were recorded on Long Island and Rhode Island. New York City’s harbor reported a 3.5-foot storm surge, which wrecked several piers.

Donna followed the path of a Cape Verde type hurricane.

September 27, 1985: Hurricane Gloria: Gloria made landfall at Long Beach, Long Island, New York as a category 1 hurricane. Wind gusts to 130mph were recorded near Montauk. Only 8 deaths were attributed to the storm thanks to early warning.

August 19, 1991: Hurricane Bob: The last strong hurricane to strike the Northeast was Bob which made landfall in Rhode Island as a category 2 hurricane. 18 deaths were attributed to the storm

A well-defined eye can be seen on this enhanced satellite image of Hurricane Bob as it approaches the Northeast in August 1991.

September 15, 1999: Hurricane Floyd: Like Tropical Storm Agnes in June 1972, Floyd was not a hurricane by the time it reached New Jersey and New England but caused extensive damage and many casualties as a result of its flooding rains.

Brief Conclusion
As can be seen by the timelines above, the New Jersey to New England region is long overdue for a hit by a strong hurricane. It is very rare that more than 15 years pass without such an occurrence, and, on average, the period of return should be on the order of 5-10 years.

Early American Hurricanes: 1492-1870 David M. Ludlum, American Meteorological Society, 1963

Hurricanes Ivan Ray Tannehill, Princeton University Press, 1950


Heat Wave Strikes Europe

By: weatherhistorian, 10:00 PM GMT on August 24, 2011

Heat Wave Strikes Europe

While the heat wave in the south central portion of the U.S.A. continues, one of the worst heat waves to strike central and southern Europe since 2003 has affected portions of Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland this past week. The temperature soared to 107.8°F (42.1°C) in Florence, Italy on August 22, the hottest reading on record for the city. The following is a short blog highlighting some of the temperatures recorded in Europe since the heat wave began August 19th.

The heat wave began on August 19th centered over Spain and then spread north and east into France on August 20th and then into southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy on August 22-24. The core of the heat wave has now settled further south over Italy and the Balkans (where temperatures of 104° have been reported in Serbia the past two days).

Below is a summary of temperatures so far attained and comparisons to the all-time record maximums for the respective sites. I have also made a note of what the national maximum temperature records are for each country. The vast majority of the all-time record maximums occurred during the great heat wave of August 2003 that resulted in the deaths of some 35,000 people in Western Europe.


Florence, as mentioned, above, broke its all-time heat record last Monday and was the hottest reading so far measured in the country with its 107.8° reading on August 22nd. Other maximum temperatures in Italy include the following (for the all-time maximums I only have a date for Rome):

The national record for Italy (and the hottest reliably measured temperature ever reported from Europe is 119.3° at Catenanuova, Sicily on August 10, 1999.


The hottest temperature so far measured in Switzerland during the current event is 98.2° at Sion on August 22. The official national maximum temperature for Switzerland is 102.7° at Roveredo on August 11, 2003. A reading of 106.7° from Grono on the same day has been dismissed by Swiss meteorological authorities as resulting from a non-standard exposure of the thermometer there.


The reading from Stuttgart is the warmest so far measured in Germany during this event. The hottest temperature recorded in Germany is 104.5° at Perl-Nennig on August 8, 2003.


The heat remained south of Paris which recorded a maximum of only 90°. The hottest temperature so far recorded in France during the current heat episode is 104.7° at Montauban on August 20th. The national maximum is 111.4° at Conqueryrac and Saint-Christol-les-Ales on August 12, 2003.


The hottest temperature reported from Spain so far is 108.5° at Moron De La Frontera on August 19th. The most reliable maximum temperature ever recorded in Spain is 117.0° at Murcia on July 4, 1994. A reading of 121.6° at Seville on July 11, 1873 is not considered reliable due to exposure issues.


The Vienna temperature above is the warmest so far measured in Austria during this event. Austria’s national maximum temperature is 103.5° at Dellach im Drautal on July 27, 1983.

KUDOS: Thanks to Maximilliano Herrera for city all-time heat records.


Record Dew Point Temperatures

By: weatherhistorian, 7:30 PM GMT on August 11, 2011

Record Dew Point Temperatures

Just recently the Minnesota State Climate Office issued a statement declaring the 88° dew point temperature measured at Moorhead (on the Red River across from Fargo, North Dakota) between 7pm and 9pm on July 19, 2011 as a new all-time state record for the highest such reading ever observed. This would also be one of the highest dew points ever observed in the United States. Here is a brief summary of record dew point levels from both the U.S.A. and around the world.

The 88° Dew Point Measured at Moorhead, Minnesota on July 19, 2011

One might assume that the highest dew points measured in the United States would be those observed during in areas along or near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico during the summer months. Although for the most part this is true the other region that occasionally seems to record extraordinary heat and humidity is the Upper Midwest. I have not been able to discover just why the dew points in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin sometimes are higher than anywhere else in the United States during exceptional heat waves versus, say, Missouri or other states that are generally more humid and also endure exceptional summer heat. One possible factor is that the worst heat waves in the area sometimes occur following heavy rainfalls that have saturated the ground and lowest levels of the atmosphere whereas other more southern places usually reach there highest temperatures during periods of drought, as is the current situation in the Southern Plains.

Two graphics illustrating the affect of humidity on the apparent feel of the temperature: at top is NOAA’s Heat Index chart (% of humidity with air temperature) and below that the effect of dew point with air temperature. Unfortunately the dew point table does not consider dew points above 82°.

On July 19th not only did Moorhead record its highest dew point on record but so did Minneapolis with an 82° (and possibly even 84° for a five minute period between 3:21-3:27 pm) on the same day. Another site in Minnesota, Madison, also registered an 88° dew point (although this site may not be considered an official reporting station). The NWS office in Grand Forks, North Dakota issued this statement explaining how heavy rainfall the morning of the event had saturated the soil and left ponding water near the instrument site. Furthermore, the AWOS is surrounded by sugar beets and soy beans “two of the most prodigious transpiring plants”.

A photograph of the Moorhead Airport Automated Station tat registered the 88° dew point on July 19th. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks, North Dakota National Weather Service Office.

Highest Dew Point Measurements in the United States

Last summer (2010), Newton, Iowa recorded an 88° dew point on July 14th. Chicago, Illinois’s highest dew point was 83° at 8 a.m. on July 30, 1999 as was Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s with an 82° the same day. But it was during the July heat wave of 1995 that the highest dew point of all was measured in the Upper Midwest: 90° at Appleton, Wisconsin at 5 p.m. on July 13th of that summer. The air temperature stood at 101° in Appleton at that time leading to a heat index reading of 148°, perhaps the highest such reading ever measured in the United States. Here are the METARS for Appleton that day:

METARS chart for Appleton, Wisconsin on July 13, 1995 from

The July 1995 heat wave resulted in the deaths of 750 people in Chicago and other cities in the region recorded amazing dew points as well such as Cedar Rapids, Iowa: 84° (heat index 129°) and Oelwein, Iowa 85° (heat index 131°). Unusually high dew points in the region persisted for a couple days, aided by evaporation from soil and a stable layer of air aloft that prevented moist air in the lowest few thousand feet from mixing with drier air above. This was also the case in Minnesota and North Dakota last month on July 19th.

Aside from Appleton, the only other instances of 90° or higher dew points I am aware of are the following: 91° at Melbourne, Florida at 2 p.m. on July 12, 1987 (air temperature 95°) and 90° at New Orleans Naval Air Station at 5 p.m. on July 30, 1987 (air temperature 91°). Both of these records have not been vetted for accuracy.

Record high dew points seem to be a particularly difficult record to verify. On the East Coast I can find no reference to what New York City’s highest dew point might have been. Philadelphia’s highest such was 82° on July 15, 1995 (the heat index peaked at 129°). Syracuse, New York’s record was 77° on July 4, 1999. Anecdotal on-line reports claim an 86° dew point at Virginia Beach, Virginia sometime during the summer of 1998. In general, it may be assumed that the highest dew points on record for most places east of the Great Plains would be in the 77°-85° range.

Highest Dew Point Levels in The World

The hottest most humid regions of the world are the coastal areas of The Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden.

Map of the Arabian Peninsula region, the coastal areas of which record the highest dew points in the world. Boosaso (referenced below) is located on the Gulf of Aden coast of Somalia just visible at the bottom portion of the map. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia is located on the Persian Gulf just north of Bahrain.

Thanks to the shallow nature of these bodies of water they heat up during the summer season with average sea surface temperatures in the upper 80°s. In fact, the hottest sea surface temperatures ever recorded anywhere in the world have been 98° in the Persian Gulf and 96° in the Red Sea. Data compiled by the British Met Office (in its ‘Tables of Temperature, Relative, Humidity and Precipitation for the World: Part 4; Africa and the Indian Ocean’, 1967) for Boosaso (formerly known as Bender Caasim), Somalia between 1934-1946 indicate an average dew point of 83° at 2:30 p.m. during the entire month of June (104° air temperature with 61% humidity). Obviously, some days are even hotter and more humid (the record June high for the period was 113° and the record low 78°). Assab, Eritrea has an average June afternoon dew point of 84°.

The absolute highest dew point recorded in the region and therefore the world (of which I am aware) was 95° at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia at 3 p.m. on July 8, 2003. The dry bulb temperature stood at 108° at the time, so theoretically the heat index was 176°. Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) apparently once recorded a dew point of 93.2° (date unknown) according to ‘Weather Climate Extremes’ Army Corps of Engineers TEC-0099 report.

KUDOS: Thomas Schlatter of NOAA for USA dew point records and Dr. Adnan Akyuz, North Dakota State Climatologist for Moorhead, MN information.

Temperature Dea Point Records

July 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary

By: weatherhistorian, 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.

Extreme Weather

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

Weather Extremes

About weatherhistorian

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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