The June 2018 climate report is now out by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), detailing the overall weather during the month. This year’s June ended up being the third warmest for the contiguous US in recorded history, measuring an average temperature of 71.5°F, which is 3°F above average. The only two months warmer than 2018 were 1933 and 2016. While much of the country baked during the month, the Northwest and Northeast were able to enjoy a cool June.
NOAA notes that along with the above average temperatures overall, “minimum temperatures, or overnight lows, were particularly warm across the central and southeastern US. Iowa, New Mexico and Texas each had a record warm June minimum temperature.” They also added that despite the heat wave which began at the very end of June in the Northeast, there wasn’t enough to compensate for the below normal temperatures at the start and middle of the month.
In terms of precipitation, the US averaged at 3.08 inches, which is only 0.15 inches above average. That ranked near the middle of the 124-year period of record. Year-to-date precipitation is also very close to average at 0.47 inches above normal. The West and South were rather dry this June, while parts of the Midwest, Northern and Central Plains, and Mid-Atlantic were quite wet.
There were several notable flood events that occurred in June, including one on June 15-17 in the Upper Midwest. Houghton County, Michigan received nearly 7 inches of rain in just a few hours during this time period. A tropical disturbance also delivered heavy rain to coastal sections of Texas during the latter half of the month (June 18-21). Some towns measured over a foot of rainfall during this event.
To contrast this flooding, 29.7 percent of the Lower 48 was in a drought by the end of the month. which is up from 26.4 percent at the end of May. According to NOAA, “Drought conditions worsened in parts of the West, Southern Plains, the Mississippi River Valley and the Northeast.”
Now that we’re halfway through 2018, it is easy to tell that the US is on track for another warmer-than-normal year. Most states have been experiencing above average temperatures so far, and several have been well-above normal. In fact, Arizona and New Mexico have seen record warm start to 2018. The only cool spots has been parts of the interior Northwest and Northern Plains.
There have now been 6 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters so far this year. According to the latest climate report: “This was double the long-term average of three events for the January-June period since 1980, but slightly less than the 7.4 event average for the January-June period of the last five years. These events included four severe storm events and two winter storm events. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 36 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted.”