Extreme weather patterns plaguing US
Editor's note: See link below to comment on this article.
But the country experienced large variations in both heat and precipitation between regions, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Almost 9,000 daily heat records were broken or tied in July, according to NOAA — including 2,755 highest maximum temperatures and 6,171 highest minimum temperatures (i.e., nighttime records). NOAA found that just by plotting the location of each record a nearly complete image of the contiguous US is visible.
The January-July period was record-dry for Texas, New Mexico and the South climate region (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas). The month of July in that South region was the warmest single calendar month on record for any climate region in the US.
Texas and Oklahoma had their warmest months ever on record in July and while recording nearly their driest months on record. Oklahoma's statewide average temperature in July was the warmest monthly statewide average on record for any state during any month. Texas also set a "hottest-ever" record for June. An article in the Aug. 22 edition of Time magazine says the state has received 6.53 in (17 cm) of rain so far this year, while its annual average for 12 months is 37 in (86 cm).
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
The trough/ridge weather pattern that slashed across the US created the second warmest May-July on record for the South climate region. In fact, 41 of the lower 48 states had above-normal, much-above-normal or a record warmest July, a shift.
Meanwhile, precipitation was much above normal for most states in the northern half of the country. Three states (Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan) had record precipitation during the February-July period. California tied for its fifth wettest July ever. Reservoirs in Southern California were filling up — at 97 percent of capacity in the case of massive Diamond Lake.
The shift in weather patterns caused had unusually cool temperatures for the Northwest and West climate regions between May and July — the coolest on record for the state of Washington. Only seven states — all west of the Rocky Mountains — had July temperatures that were near or below the 20th century average.
The globe experienced its seventh warmest July since record keeping began in 1880, NOAA reported. Neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions were present during July, according to NOAA. July’s Arctic sea ice extent was the smallest on record for that month since records began in 1979. The January-July worldwide land surface temperature was 1.40F 0.78C) above the 20th century average.
Additional AWWA Resources
- Drought Preparedness and Response (M60)
- "A drought is coming: Plan for it now!" webcast, Sept. 21, 1-2:30 p.m. ET
- Total Water Management
- Climate Change and Water: International Perspectives on Mitigation and Adaptation
- AWWA Web page with conservation/drought links