Fourth Warmest Month on Record

By Russell Russ

July was a wet and very warm month. Compared to more urban locations, Norfolk typically sees cooler summer temperatures. Norfolk’s forested landscape and higher elevation plays heavily into this cooling influence. Sometimes though, the heat and humidity during the dog days of summer can overtake Norfolk’s somewhat protected little weather world. That was certainly the case in July when we saw hazy, hot and humid conditions for much of the month. The tropical air also resulted in above average rainfall.

July’s high temperature of 92 degrees was observed on July 1 and 2 and the low temperature of 48 degrees was observed on July 7. There were three days this month with record daily high temperatures: 92 on July 1 (was 90 in 1934 and 1964), 92 on July 2 (was 91 in 1934) and 89 on July 16 (tied record from 1969). In addition to these, heat records were nearly broken on July 3, 4, 5 and 17. July’s monthly mean temperature of 71.5 degrees was 3.4 degrees above normal.

This July was tied with 2010 as being not only the fourth warmest July on record, but also tied as the fourth warmest month of any month on record (since 1932). Quite impressive to think that there have been weather observations made for 1,039 months at this weather station and July 2018 was tied as the fourth warmest of all of those months. Norfolk’s warmest July on record was in 2013 with 72.7 degrees, the coolest was in 1962 with 63.9 degrees.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 6.36 inches, 2.02 inches above average. There were five thunderstorms this month, but nothing overly severe around here. With less than an inch of rainfall recorded through July 16, things were beginning to look dry. That changed dramatically during the second half of the month. While this July was wetter than normal it still was not even in the Top-10 for wettest. The wettest July was in 2014 with 12.76 inches, the driest was in 1939 with 1.29 inches.

We are doing quite well for precipitation this year. Through July the total precipitation amount for the year was 34.61 inches. This is 4.76 inches above average and also 7.39 inches more than the total through July 2017. For 2015-2017, Norfolk was below normal for precipitation through the month of July (also for those entire years). Even though we are doing just fine for moisture so far this year, some trees still are showing signs of stress from our previous years of drought. It can take two to three years for signs of drought to show up in trees. Our precipitation surplus this year will certainly be beneficial for our friends the trees.

An early look into August, through August 17, showed that August’s weather was looking much like our July weather. The heat, humidity and rainfall continued. Temperatures were running 6 degrees above normal and we had already seen 4.75 inches of rainfall, 0.12 inch above the normal for the entire month of August. Autumn is just around the corner. Enjoy the summer heat while it is here. It will not be long before we see cooler temperatures and even some changing leaf colors around here.