Norfolk’s 10th Driest June on Record

By Russell Russ

June ended Norfolk’s string of seemingly constant wet weather that dates back to April. Overall, June was a fairly pleasant summer month with near normal temperatures. It was, however, quite dry. After a very wet April and wet May it was not all that bad to dry things out just a little. The month’s rainfall total was low, but it did rain. The weather turned warmer and more humid during the final days of the month.

June’s low temperature of 38 degrees was observed on June 4 and the high of 84 degrees was observed on June 28. With an average monthly mean temperature of 63.8 degrees, it was just 0.4 degree above normal. There were no new daily temperature records set this month. Norfolk’s coolest June was in 1958 with an average monthly mean temperature of 58.8 degrees. The warmest June was in 1943 with 68.3 degrees.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was just 2.08 inches, 2.79 inches below normal. It was Norfolk’s 10th driest June over the last 88 years. The driest June was in 1988 when only 0.74 inch was recorded. Our wettest June was in 2013 with 13.38 inches.

On June 22 there were two rounds of afternoon thunderstorms that just brushed Norfolk. Nearby towns reported small hail that day, but there was no severe weather in Norfolk. During the summer months, short duration downpours typically make up a large part of the monthly rainfall total, and also, the lack of them can mean a dry month. June was a dry month.

For the first half of 2019, Norfolk’s total precipitation amount was 24.85 inches. Through June, this puts Norfolk 0.65 inch below normal for the year. Nothing to worry about as long as the dry conditions do not continue through the second half of the year. The years of 2015 (8th driest) and 2016 (3rd driest) were back to back very dry years. Currently we are a long ways away from the low precipitation totals recorded in those drought years.

There was no wintry precipitation (snow or sleet) during June in Norfolk this year. It is extremely rare, but it has happened. There were trace amounts of snow and sleet observed on four days in June over the last 88 years. Snow flurries fell on June 20, 1940, June 13, 1965, June 18, 1965 and sleet was observed on June 30, 1988. Not only were these rare events observed and recorded, special notations were made by the weather observers after they witnessed these unusual events. Since 1932, July and August are Norfolk’s only two months that have not recorded any wintry precipitation.

An early look at July through July 21 shows that it certainly did warm up and the dry conditions did persist. July is historically our warmest month of the year and this July so far has been true to form. There were several near record setting hot days, but only July 17 with a high of 89 tied a daily record. The extreme heat wave of July 19-21 brought very hot and humid conditions to the Northeast. Norfolk was not spared. Although no daily high temperature records were set, Norfolk did hit 90 degrees at the weather station for the first time this year on both July 20 and 21.

Looking on the bright side, it still was considerably cooler in Norfolk than most other parts of the state. With 90 degree temperatures, a heat index of over 100 degrees and dew point temperatures in the 78-80 degree range it was about as hot as Norfolk gets. Thankfully, the extreme heat typically does not last long in Norfolk. Enjoy it, or not, while it lasts.