The month of July has come to an end, and what a wet time period it was for the Mid-Atlantic while record highs occurred in the West.
9 different climate locations across the region experienced an all-time wettest July in recorded history, including Cape Hatteras, North Carolina where they fell just shy of their all-time wettest month of 20.95 inches from the June of 1949. In that year, however, some of that rain was accompanied by a tropical cyclone. This year, not so much.
Other cities, such as Washington, DC (at Dulles International Airport) and Baltimore also experienced a record-wet July, receiving a total of 11.05 and 16.72 inches, respectively. That breaks the previous records set decades ago in either the 1950s or 1970s.
In downtown Washington, DC, 9.73 inches of rainfall in July made it their fourth wettest moth, and the most rainfall since the year of 1945. All the other top 5 wettest Julys occurred before 1950. This follows a record dry start to the month, when no rainfall was measured through the first half. The second half ended up being the rainiest on record. Between January and July, 2018 (34.91 inches) is just behind 2003 (36.83 inches) for the wettest 2000s on record. Normally, about 24 inches of rain falls by this point in time as the city nears its annual rainfall at only about halfway through the year.
To contrast, Chicago just experienced their driest July on record with only 1.14 inches of rainfall, highlighting how the weather pattern has been this July. Numerous atmospheric rivers of moisture in the Mid-Atlantic has caused parts of the Midwest to become moisture-starved under the repeated, large dips in the jet stream.
Farther west, the West Coast of the US has been record dry across many locations thanks to a persistent heat dome centered over the Southwest. Not only has it been dry, but it has been hot, fueling the dozens of large wildfires that remain active going into August.
The large majority of weather stations in California has measured a record-dry July. Los Angeles came in with no measurable rainfall, tying 2018 with other bone-dry years. The same applies for cities like San Diego, Bakersfield, Sacramento, San Fransisco, and San Jose.
Salem and Eugene, Oregon have also dealt with a completely dry July while Seattle ranked at the sixth driest with 0.05 inches of rainfall.
Rainfall has been closer to average just to the east thanks in part of the North American Monsoon, which has fueled stretch of stormy weather and haboobs. Even in the same state (California), the town of Bishop recorded their wettest July (records date back to 1944) with 1.52 inches.
Paired with the record dry weather was the record heat in July. Most locations along the West Coast had a top 5 warmest July, including Los Angeles (3rd warmest), San Diego (4th warmest), Redding (all-time warmest), Portland (2nd warmest), and Seattle (2nd warmest).
Death Valley, located in the desert region of California, not only had their warmest July on record, but Earth’s warmest month for any location ever.
In Fresno, the city has now has 26 consecutive days of high temperatures of at least 100 degrees — and that streak remains in the running.
Featured image credit: Jim Grant