Climatic Fever: 2012 hottest ever so far in USA; Rare 11k foot tornado

Climatic Fever: +4.3F vs. average in the USA so far in 2012

Hottest July on record +3.3F for the USA (lower 48 states)

63.9% of the USA in “drought” as of July 24th – a new record

62.91% of the USA still in drought as of last week

2 million acres burned in July wildfires in the USA

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NOAA: July 2012 – hotter than the “Dust Bowl”

The steamy, smoky climate numbers are in for July.

According to NOAA it was the hottest July (+3.3F vs. average) ever on record for the lower 48 states in 118 years of records.

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Source: NOAA

In fact, July 2012 eclipsed the “Dust Bowl” era record from July 1936 as the hottest on record. More from NOAA:

Drought expands to cover nearly 63% of the Lower 48; wildfires consume 2 million acres

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.

Hot weather hits just keep on comin’

2012 is now the hottest year on record so far in the USA.

The USA’s average temp is running at a high grade fever, a full +4.3 degrees vs. the 20th century average for the 1st seven months of the year. Look how far 2012 is off the charts through July.

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Source: NOAA

•The January-July period was the warmest first seven months of any year on record for the contiguous United States. The national temperature of 56.4°F was 4.3°F above the long-term average. Most of the contiguous U.S. was record and near-record warm for the seven-month period, except the Pacific Northwest, which was near average.

The “Climate Extremes Index” (yes, there is such a beast) also reached a record in July according to NOAA’s national Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

•The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was a record-large 46 percent during the January-July period, over twice the average value, and surpassing the previous record large CEI of 42 percent which occurred in 1934. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures (83 percent) and warm nighttime temperatures (74 percent) both covered record large areas of the nation, contributing to the record high year-to-date USCEI value.

Drought reached record:

We’ve been talking about the intense and expanding drought in much of the USA this summer. Here’s word from NOAA that the drought area reached record proportions in July.

•According to the July 31, 2012, U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), 62.9 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought at the end of July. This is an increase of about 6.9 percent compared to the end of June. The maximum value of 63.9 percent reached on July 24 is a record in the 13-year history of the USDM.

Note how Minnesota remains a relative oasis mostly free of the severe drought that’s gripping the nation this summer.

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Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Tornado at nearly 12,000 feet?

Talk about a wild July highlight.

Several people witnessed a rare high elevation tornado on Mt. Evans in Colorado in late July. The NWS estimates this was the 2nd highest tornado ever recorded in the USA. The only higher twister touched down at 12,000 feet…just 100 feet higher.

As you can see the circulation extends well above the mountainside.

We know tornadic circulations extend high into tornadic storms. It’s just rare to observe the twister this high up as most tornadic supercells in the plains have much lower cloud bases. Drier air near the surface means “high based” storms are more common in the west.


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