Wettest July on Record

By Russell Russ

July was a warm and very wet month. There were no record setting
daily temperatures, but it was consistently warm and it was humid
for most of the month. What stood out dramatically was the rainfall –
heavy rainfall and a great deal of it. Details on the record setting
July storms through most of the month can be found in the August
issue of Norfolk Now. The final total will be included here. The final
total is impressive. This July ranked at the top of the chart for
precipitation and very high ranking for monthly temperature. With
the many roads, bridges and culverts damaged during the heavy
and excessive rains, July will likely also rank very high for damage
repair costs.
July’s high temperature of 88 degrees was observed on July 6 and
the low of 51 was observed on July 31. The average monthly mean
temperature of 71.5 degrees was 3.2 degrees above normal. This
July ranked tied with July 2010 and 2018 as Norfolk’s sixth warmest
July and seventh warmest of any month over the last 92 years. The
warmest July (and warmest of any month) was in 2020 with 73.1
degrees. The coolest July was in 1962 with 63.9 degrees.
The total precipitation recorded for the month was 15.53 inches, a
whopping 11.20 inches above normal. This July ranked as Norfolk’s
wettest July and fourth wettest of any month over the last 92 years.
The total rainfall amount is impressive, but what really stood out was
the high volume of rainfall over such short periods of time – during
four different rain events. There were multiple days when it rained
two to three inches in just a couple of hours. On July 9 in South
Norfolk, where most of the damage occurred, these totals could
have reached five to ten inches over just a few hours.
Through July, Norfolk’s yearly precipitation total was 38.86 inches.
We went from a deficit of 2.09 inches after June to a surplus of 9.11
inches after July. Norfolk’s driest July was in 1939 with 1.29 inches.
Norfolk’s top five wettest Julys: (1) 2023, 15.53; (2) 2021, 13.05; (3)
2014, 12.76; (4) 1996, 11.47; (5) 2000, 9.68.
Norfolk’s top five wettest months: (1) Aug 1955, 23.67; (2) Oct 1955,

17.49; (3) Oct 2005, 16.49; (4) July 2023, 15.53; (5) Sept 1938,
An early look at August’s weather through the third week showed a
continuation of July’s humid conditions. Temperatures were running
about normal. We came close a few times, but at the weather
station in Norfolk we have not hit 90 once yet this year. Rainfall was
about normal with thankfully no big rain storms. Everything was lush
and green through most of the summer months. No drought talk and
no brown lawns this summer. For Norfolk this summer, it has been
all about the rain and humid conditions.

Record Rainfall in July

By Russell Russ

Norfolk’s last several months have all been average to a little below average for
precipitation. Through June the year’s rainfall deficit was 2.09 inches and people were
saying we need rain. This would change dramatically during the first half of July.
The first week of the month was wet and by July 4 the rainfall total was 2.68 inches.
Then came the extreme rainfalls of July 9-10. In a 24-hour period the NWS weather
station on Windrow Road recorded 6.65 inches. Much of that rain fell around 1:00-3:00
pm July 9 and 4:00-6:00 am July 10. Several reports from the South Norfolk area came
in at 10-12 inches and possibly even more. It is hard to believe rainfall totals could be so
different over a relatively short distance, but it can happen with torrential rains from
storm cells that move very slowly. Flooding and washout damage occurred in many
parts of Litchfield County, but South Norfolk clearly was ground zero for this big
weather event. State, Town and private roads were undermined, gullied or completely
washed out. Rt. 272 was closed for weeks and a couple of Town roads could be closed
for a year (or more?). If you have a gravel driveway there was a very good chance you
had some damage.
If this wasn’t bad enough, Norfolk received another 2.35 inches July 12-14. Then on the
morning of July 16 (during weather observing time) another 2.75 inches fell in a very
short time span. The major damage had been done during the July 9-10 rains, but there
was some additional more minor damage from the additional storms. The additional
rains certainly did not help while repairs were trying to be made from the earlier storms.
Light rain also fell on July 18 and 21. In a span of less than three weeks Norfolk’s
rainfall deficit of 2.09 inches changed to a surplus of 8.04 inches.
By July 16, as recorded at Norfolk’s NWS weather station, this July had already become
Norfolk’s wettest July AND fourth wettest month of any month on record (since 1932).
As of July 21, the rainfall total for the month was 14.46 inches. Norfolk’s five wettest
Julys are: 2023 14.46+, 2021 13.05, 2014 12.76, 1996 11.47 and 2000 9.68. Norfolk’s
five wettest months are: August 1955 23.67, October 1955 17.49, October 2005 16.49,
July 2023 14.46+ and September 1938 13.40. Perhaps not such a good thing, but it is
impressive to have July 2023 on the same high rankings list as The Flood of “55
(August) and The Hurricane of ’38 (September).
As far as damage from a weather event goes, this has to be one of the larger and more
costly ones that has hit Norfolk for decades. Norfolk once again, and again not for snow
or for good reasons, was on the front page of newspapers, on the local TV news and
even on the national TV news.