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July 2013 Climate Summary

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Source/Author: Natalie Umphlett - High Plains Regional Climate Center 08/06/13

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July 2013 Climate Summary  

For a printable version of the climate summary which includes more figures, data tables, and state summaries, click here

Temperature Summary

Average temperatures were generally below normal in the east and above normal in the west across the High Plains Region this month. Temperature departures of 2.0-4.0 degrees F (1.1-2.2 degrees C) below normal occurred in eastern Kansas, central South Dakota, western North Dakota, and a few pockets of Nebraska. Meanwhile, western portions of Colorado and Wyoming had temperature departures of 3.0-5.0 degrees F (1.7-2.8 degrees C) above normal. The cooler temperatures in the east were in stark contrast to last year, when a good portion of the area had temperature departures of 6.0-8.0 degrees F (3.3-4.4 degrees C) above normal.

Although monthly records were not set, a few stations did manage to sneak in to the top 10 rankings for warmest or coolest July. On the cool side, long-term station Wamego 4 W, which is located in northeastern Kansas, had its 5th coolest July with an average temperature of 75.6 degrees F (24.2 degrees C). The coolest July at Wamego 4 W was 72.0 degrees F (22.2 degrees C) in 1950 (period of record 1912-2013). On the warm side, Lander, Wyoming had its 10th warmest July with 74.2 degrees F (23.4 degrees C). Interestingly, 7 of the top 10 warmest Julys have occurred since 2000 in Lander and the top spot of 75.9 degrees F (24.4 degrees C) occurred in both 2003 and 2006 (period of record 1891-2013).

While monthly extremes were not common, numerous daily records occurred throughout the month. One notable record was for the July all-time coolest maximum temperature in Concordia, Kansas. On July 28th, Concordia’s high temperature only reached 62.0 degrees F (16.7 degrees C) and beat out the old record of 63.0 degrees F (17.2 degrees C) which occurred back in 1979 and 1988 (period of record 1885-2013).

Precipitation Summary

July precipitation was hit or miss across the High Plains Region. Areas receiving at least 150 percent of normal precipitation included central Kansas, central South Dakota, central and western Colorado, and scattered pockets in eastern Wyoming, north central Nebraska, southwestern South Dakota, and northern North Dakota. While rain was needed to help alleviate ongoing drought conditions, some storms brought heavy rain which caused mudslides in fire burn scars in Colorado and flash flooding in parts of Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming. Areas which missed out included eastern and central Nebraska, eastern and central North Dakota, and central Wyoming. These areas received less than 50 percent of normal precipitation.

Because of the wide range in precipitation, there were stations which ranked in the top 10 driest or wettest Julys on record. With only 11 percent of normal precipitation, Omaha, Nebraska had its 2nd driest July on record with 0.44 inches (11 mm) of precipitation (period of record 1871-2013). The driest on record occurred only last year with 0.01 inches (0 mm). Meanwhile, precipitation in central Kansas helped alleviate drought conditions there, although long-term deficits were still high. For instance, Wichita, Kansas had measurable precipitation on 17 days in July, which broke the old record of 16 in 1950 (period of record 1888-2013). On average, Wichita has about 8 days with measurable precipitation in July. By the end of the month, Wichita received 7.69 inches (195 mm) of precipitation making this July its 4th wettest. Although 232 percent of normal, this was not nearly enough to beat the top spot of 13.37 inches (340 mm) in 1950.

Climate Outlook

At the end of July, ENSO-neutral conditions were still present and likely to continue into the fall. For the next three months, the temperature outlook indicates a higher probability of above normal temperatures for much of the High Plains Region including Colorado, Wyoming, most of Kansas and Nebraska, and southwestern South Dakota. Equal chances of above, near, or below normal temperatures exist for the rest of the Region. Meanwhile, the precipitation outlook indicates an equal chance of above, near, or below normal precipitation for the entire High Plains Region. The only areas of the country with an enhanced chance of above normal precipitation are areas of the desert southwest and the southeast U.S. The seasonal outlooks combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO).More information about these forecasts can be found here.

Drought Watch

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor showed both improvements and degradations over the past month. At the end of July, approximately 64 percent of the Region was in moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought - down just slightly from 67 percent at the end of June. An expansion of abnormally dry conditions (D0) occurred in east-central North Dakota and eastern parts of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. In addition, two new areas of D1 were introduced in far southeastern South Dakota and northeastern Kansas. One category improvements were made in some areas of north-central and eastern Colorado. There was quite a bit of jostling of drought conditions in Kansas where some areas had improvements, while others had degradations. By the end of the month, 25 percent of the state remained in the D4 designation, however. Wyoming had an increase in severe (D2) and extreme (D3) drought coverage, going from about 47 percent of the state to 52 percent of the state. According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released July 18th, the only area of drought expected to improve was in southwestern Colorado. Drought conditions were expected to develop in north-central Colorado and persist elsewhere through October 2013.

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