A report released this week by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the lower 48 states. It was not only the hottest July ever recorded, but the hottest of any month ever recorded. To put it another way, July 2012 was the hottest of more than 1,400 months that we’ve gone through since 1895. Not cool.
This July surpassed the record previously held by the hottest month ever, which happened in July 1936 during the peak of the Dust Bowl. Per weather.com, Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro says, “Exceeding July 1936 at the peak of the Dust Bowl heat — is BIG.”
July 2012 was 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average. Ostro puts this in perspective, “While three degrees might not seem like much because temperatures can vary a lot more than that from day to day, it’s significant when averaged over a whole month, and particularly so in the summer when temperatures typically have less variation than at other times of year.”
Global warming, anyone?
The Midwest, East Coast, and Plains were the areas most affected by the July heatwave. Only Washington, California, Arizona and Louisiana had temperatures that were near average in July.
So far this year, a total of five months have been a top four warmest for that respective month. March and July lead the pack as the warmest of their respective months.
Because of the record heat, drought now covers nearly 63 percent of the Lower 48 states, where average precipitation is 0.19 inch below average. The lack of rain could effect food prices. Likewise, wildfires are a major concern during these drought conditions.