July went into the record books as the fourth-warmest month in U.S. history as temperature marks fell across the country, the National Climate Data Center said.
The average daily high temperature in July was 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius), 2.7 degrees warmer than the 1901-2000 norm, according to the center in Asheville, North Carolina. Oklahoma and Texas had their warmest months ever.
“Only seven of the lower 48 states -- all west of the Rockies -- experienced a July average temperature near or below the 20th century average,” according to the report released today. “The other 41 had an above-normal, much-above-normal or record warmest July.”
From May to July, a persistent weather pattern set up across the country bringing cool air to the western third of the U.S. and heat to the eastern half, the center said. Oklahoma had its warmest May-to-July period and 18 other states recorded the 90-day periods that were in their Top 10 for heat.
Washington, D.C., also had its warmest month, with an average temperature of 84.5 degrees, breaking the previous mark of 83.1 set in July 2010 and July 1993.
The region made up of Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas and Louisiana had an average temperature of 86.1 degrees, the warmest since 1895, when records were first kept. The previous mark was 85.9 in 1980.
Oklahoma City’s monthly average temperature of 89.2 degrees broke the record set in August 1936, which had an average temperature of 88.7, the center said.
Oklahoma averaged 88.9, “the warmest monthly statewide average temperature on record for any state during any month,” the report said. The previous record, also set in Oklahoma, was 88.1 in July 1954.
Dallas exceeded 100 degrees for 30 of 31 days in July as Texas set a record with a monthly average of 87.1. Dallas has posted 37 days in a row above 100 degrees, five days behind the record of 42 in 1980, according to the National Weather Service. At 1 p.m. local time today, the temperature in Dallas was 99.
The same pattern that brought the heat also meant more rain in the northern Plains while extending a drought across Texas and the U.S. South.
“Drought conditions are so harsh in some locations that it would take as much as 20 inches of precipitation in one month to end the drought,” the center said.