Hottest July In USA’s Weather History

August 8, 2012

This probably isn’t a surprise, but the USA just endured its hottest July AND hottest month ever.  By the way, “ever” means back to 1895. 

This was caused by the continuation of upper-level ridging across most of the country; we’ve seen that quite a bit from late winter all the way through July.  So how hot was it?  It just barely beat out the Dust Bowl month of July 1936.  Here’s a chart of July temps through the period:

You’ll notice the obvious upswing in July temps through the period.  In fact just a casual glance says the last 10 years are the warmest since the 1930s (July only).

But it sure isn’t the same story along the West Coast!  This summer has seen the continuation of below average temperatures (so far).  Check out June and July temps (averaged together) for the lower elevations of Western Oregon (climate zone #2) over the past 100 years:

4 out of the last 5 summers have started very cool; if you’re a gardener you know that.  Only the summer of 2009 started warm.  Of course we get an “average summer” by combining hot summers and cool summers.  So it’s fair to argue that after some hot summers in the previous 10 years, we have been overdue for cooler weather.

Not much going on locally the next few days; just a gradually thinning marine layer through the weekend, then more marine influence for at least the early part of next workweek.  Models are in disagreement on how much troughing we get and how close it is to us about one week from now.  Summer doldrums continue…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Another Earthquake Offshore Today

August 8, 2012

The newsies got excited (briefly) when they heard about an earthquake offshore today.  That’s perfectly reasonable since someday we’ll get the BIG ONE on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.  Plus, it was helped along by the TwitterVerse and FacebookNation.

But this was farther away, on the Blanco Fracture Zone and quite common.  In fact there have been 4 quakes between 4.0 and 5.0 just in the past three weeks in the same location!  

Nothing to worry about because these earthquakes can’t produce a tsunami (no up/down motion and too weak anyway), and they are from two crustal plates sliding alongside each other, not one going under another.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen