Wettest July on Record

By Russell Russ

On average, July is Norfolk’s warmest month of the year. July of last year was the warmest July, and also the warmest month of any month, on record for Norfolk. July of this year might technically end up being the warmest month of 2021, but it sure did not feel like it. The month started out cool and rainy and the rain did not stop for the rest of the month. Norfolk’s weather for its Independence Day Weekend was about as nice as its Memorial Day Weekend. Neither had particularly nice weather. The high temperature of 58 degrees on July 3 was the same as the high temperature recorded last Christmas. Both dates do not typically hit 58 degrees, at least in Norfolk. The big storyline for July’s weather this year was not temperatures, it was rainfall.

July’s high temperature of 86 was observed on July 7 and the low of 48 was observed on July 31. The average monthly mean temperature of 67.6 degrees was 0.7 degrees below normal. Not high ranking for cool months of July, but it was the first month of 2021 that came in below average for monthly temperature. The warmest July was in 2020 with 73.1 degrees and the coolest was in 1962 with 63.9 degrees. This July’s persistent cloudy and rainy weather definitely had an effect on its temperatures.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 13.05 inches, a whopping 8.72 inches above normal. Norfolk’s average July total is 4.33 inches. Rainfall was observed during the first fifteen days of the month. A dreary start. At month’s end, twenty two of the month’s thirty one days had observed rainfall during part or all of them. Perhaps fortunately, there were no direct hit huge storm events like a hurricane or tropical storm. The rainfall was just persistent and often reached two to four inches over a few day span several times during the month. As a result, there were no major local flooding issues. There were, however, some issues caused by the excessive and persistent amount of rainfall that occurred all month. With no dry out period, streams and rivers stayed fairly full and the ground stayed saturated for most of the month.

On the plus side, the running yearly precipitation deficit of 5.02 inches after June was transformed into a surplus of 3.70 inches after July. There should be no talk of drought conditions around Norfolk, or the Northeast U.S. for that matter, for quite a while. Perhaps all of the “we need rain comments” from earlier in the year came back to haunt us during July. Through July, the 2021 total precipitation amount of 33.45 inches was 3.70 inches above normal. The average yearly total precipitation amount for Norfolk is 52.53 inches. Total precipitation includes rain, snow and sleet.

An early look at August’s weather through mid-month showed a continuation of July’s mostly cloudy conditions. Norfolk fortunately saw a bit of a dry out period during August’s first two weeks. There were a few days with typical hot and humid summer weather, but all in all, temperatures and rainfall were running about average for the first half of the month. Looking ahead, there were some tropical storms and hurricanes brewing in the Atlantic, as usually occurs during August. The latter half of the month could get interesting weather-wise.