Record Cool July 2014 In Parts of the Midwest and South

By Jon Erdman
Published: August 10, 2014


July 2014 went down as the record coolest July in many locations from the Great Lakes to the Deep South.

Among the cities setting a new record coolest July were:

- Indianapolis
- Urbana, Illinois
- Decatur, Illinois
- Cape Girardeau, Missouri
- Jonesboro, Arkansas
- Pine Bluff, Arkansas
- Tupelo, Mississippi
- Vicksburg, Mississippi

The state of Illinois appears to have tied their record coolest July from 2009, according to state climatologist Jim Angel. Arkansas may have also established a new statewide record cool July, according to the National Weather Service in Little Rock.

Several other cities tallied one of their five coolest Julys on record in 2014, including:

- Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and Normal, Illinois: Second coolest
- Rockford, Illinois, Springfield, Illinois, South Bend, Indiana, Paducah, Kentucky, Toledo, Ohio, Dayton, Ohio, Wichita Falls, Texas: Third coolest
- Kansas City, Cincinnati, Jackson, Mississippi: Fourth coolest
- Evansville, Indiana: Fifth coolest

Contributing heavily to the cool month in these areas were a pair of potent plunges in the jet stream driving cold fronts unusually far south for a core summer month. 

(RECAPS: Mid-July Polar Invasion | Late July Polar Invasion II)

There were several other cool notables, other than monthly rankings which caught our eye:

- Two of the three coolest July days in the state of Oklahoma occurred on back-to-back days (July 16-17). July 17 clobbered the previous coolest July day by three degrees.

- Tulsa, Oklahoma failed to reach 80 degrees from July 15-18, a first for July. Their high on July 17 was 68 degrees.

- This is the first time on record Indianapolis has failed to reach 89 degrees by the end of July.

- Morning lows on July 30 dipped to the upper 40s in northern Alabama, mid-40s in north Georgia, and reached 34 degrees at Mt. LeConte, Tennessee (elevation 6400 feet).

(MORE: The Coldest July Days Ever Recorded)

Not All About Keeping Cool

On the other end of the spectrum, searing heat scorched parts of the Great Basin and Northwest in July 2014. 

For the second July in a row, Medford, Oregon, set its record hottest July. In fact, this southwest Oregon city has now seen its three hottest Julys over the past eight years (2014, 2013, 2006). 

Seattle chalked up its second hottest July, topped only by July 2009. Only two other months (July 1985 and August 1967) had more days of 80-degree warmth or warmer than this July in Seattle, according to the National Weather Service.

July 2014 was the hottest July in Spokane, Washington, in 108 years, and second hottest overall. Contributing to this was a 12-day streak in the 90s from July 6-17, followed by a five-day stretch to end the month, which included one triple-digit high on July 29. 

Perhaps most torrid was Wenatchee, Washington. With an incredible 13 days of triple-digit heat, including a stretch of nine straight days from July 8-16, the "Apple Capital" easily smashed its previous hottest July. No wonder we saw the largest wildfire on record in state history this July.

(MORE: Washington/Oregon July Wildfires)

Not far behind, Winnemucca, Nevada sweated through its hottest single month in records dating to 1877, topping a record that had stood for 73 years. The northwest Nevada city sizzled with nine days of triple-digit heat, compared to the average of seven days during an entire summer. 

Eugene, Oregon, set a record for July days with highs in the 90s or warmer (16 days), while the state capital, Salem, tied their record (14 days).

If this hot West, cool Midwest/South pattern sounds familiar, it is not only persisting through much of this year so far, but also is similar to what was seen in July 2013.

Strange Precipitation Shifts

You may recall the heavy flooding in the nation's Corn Belt in June, particularly in parts of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. 

(RECAP: June 2014 Record Rain)

That June pattern of repeated thunderstorm clusters along stationary fronts intercepted by deep moisture gave way to the potent polar plunges of July, resulting in a spectacular monthly precipitation shift.

After clobbering their previous record wettest month by over four inches in June, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, measured a meager 0.80 inches of rain the entire month of July.

North Platte, Nebraska, followed their second wettest June with a record dry July. 

MORE: Northwest Wildfires - July 2014


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