The Washington Post

July: most extreme and 4th warmest in US; Oklahoma hottest ever state average temperature

Climate Extremes Index during July. July 2011 was the higest on record. View bigger. (NOAA)

But July was not only scorching hot. July’s Climate Extremes Index, which examines the percentage of the U.S. impacted by a full range of extreme weather conditions, was the highest on record for the month (since 1910). Thirty seven percent of the country contended with extreme weather. The extreme July - for all extreme weather classifications - follows the most extreme spring for precipitation .

The primary factors which led to such an extreme July were: extreme warm minimum temperatures, extreme wetness in the northern plains and western Great Lakes, extreme warm high temperatures, and extreme drought in the south central U.S. through Gulf Coast.

Temperatures compared to average during July 2011 (NOAA)

Grover Cleveland was serving his second term as President in 1895. Victoria was the Queen of England and Will Rogers was still a teenager. It is also the year that statewide average temperature records begin for the United States. There have been 1399 months pass by since 1895. Multiply that number by 48 and you have 67,152 months of temperature records for the contiguous states. How hot was it in Oklahoma last month? Of those statewide average temperature records for the 48 states, none has been hotter than July 2011 in Oklahoma.

Some other highlights from NOAA’s July report:

Close to Home comic by John McPherson

For additional information about July, read NOAA’s State of the Climate Report.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.


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