Summertime Heat and Humidity
By Russell Russ
July is typically Norfolk’s warmest month of the year and typically when Norfolk’s summer heat and humidity really kick in. This year was true to form. June was about average for temperature and while there was some rainfall, there strangely were no thunderstorms. July came in hot and with numerous thunderstorms. Unfortunately, the thunderstorms did not produce much in the way of rain so it was another drier than normal month. Compared to last July, which was below normal for temperature and came in as the wettest July on record, this July was a completely different story.
July’s low temperature of 50 degrees was observed on July 10 and the high of 90 was observed on July 20. This was the first 90-plus degree day in Norfolk in 2022. It reached 90 only once, but it also hit 89 three times, 88 once and 87 twice. The average monthly mean temperature of 70.8 degrees was 2.5 degrees above normal. This July ranked tied with July 2011 as Norfolk’s ninth warmest July and tenth warmest month of any month over the last 91 years. The warmest July was in 2020 with 73.1 degrees and the coolest was in 1962 with 63.9 degrees.
The total precipitation recorded for the month was 2.59 inches, 1.74 inches below normal. This July ranked as Norfolk’s sixteenth driest July. It was nearly 10.5 inches below last July’s rainfall total. Thunderstorms were hit or miss all over the state this month. There were six observed at the weather station, but none were particularly strong and none produced much rain. Norfolk’s wettest July was in 2021 with 13.05 inches and the driest was in 1939 with 1.29 inches. Through July, Norfolk’s yearly precipitation total of 26.16 inches resulted in a yearly deficit of 3.59 inches.
During the early evening of July 28, a small pop up thunderstorm cell produced a small EF-0 tornado just south of Dennis Hill State Park. The path extended about five miles and ended in Colebrook. Fortunately, there was just sporadic and relatively minor damage. The tornado did not show up on radar, but there were eyewitnesses and photos and videos. There is at least one weather enthusiast very familiar with Norfolk and Colebrook that really would have enjoyed watching this small funnel cloud from atop Dennis Hill, as some fortunate people were able to do.
An early look at August’s weather through mid-month showed a continuation of July’s mostly warm and mostly dry conditions. Through mid-month this August ranked as the warmest and driest August on record. With just 0.44 inch of rain recorded by August 16 it was no surprise that a good portion of Connecticut reached severe drought conditions. Norfolk’s summertime rainfall comes mostly from big thunderstorms and tropical systems and this summer we have not seen much of either one. Unless weather patterns change during the latter half of the month, August could be very high ranking for least amount of rainfall.