Scorching hot temperatures ushered July in and out — but state climatologist Harry Hillaker says they weren’t enough to set any major weather records for the overall month. Hillaker says the month was about two-and-a-half degrees above normal — but he says you only have to go back to 2002 to find a warmer month.
Hillaker says the milder temperatures in the middle of July offset the warm beginning and end. Hillaker says rainfall was below normal for the month, as he says we averaged about an inch below normal average rainfall for the state at three-point-one-nine inches. Hillaker says the rainfall amounts varied tremendously from one part of the state to another.
Hillaker says some areas really got dry. He says northwest Iowa got under and inch of rain for the month, and some only a half inch. Hillaker says parts of eastern Iowa got six and seven inches more rain than normal.
Hillaker says the pockets of extremely dry and extremely wet areas go against the record books. Hillaker says the whole state generally gets about the same amount of rain when you look back 30 to 40 years. He says the acute dry weather in the northwest part of the state is “quite abnormal.”
Hillaker says the dry weather makes conditions worse overall for those parts of the state. Hillaker says the drier the ground gets, the more of the sun’s energy goes toward heating the air and not evaporating water. Hillaker says that leads to warmer temperatures, as is evident by 100-degree readings in far west and south-central Iowa. While there’s some relief from the hot temperatures forecast for midweek, Hillaker says August is usually only about three degrees cooler overall than July.