One of Iowa’s hottest-ever Julys is behind us now, but forecasters say the August ahead won’t be much different. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says the prolonged drought of the past several weeks put this July among the stickiest in Iowa’s history, though the wealth of month-end data is still being tabulated.
“Generally, you’re looking at probably the third-hottest July on record for the state of Iowa and that’s based on 140 years of records,” Hillaker says. “The last time we would’ve had a hotter July is probably going to be 1936 and the other one that was hotter was way back in 1901.”
Some areas of the state will finish off the month being several inches short on rainfall. When the numbers are all in, this July will likely be the fifth-driest July in Iowa history, he says, and the month is among some notorious company.
Hillaker says, “The top three are: 1886 brought us the driest summer on record, 1936 was our hottest summer on record, and 1894, the third-driest July, ended up being the driest growing season on record.” Just because we’re in a new month doesn’t mean there’ll be a new forecast.
Hillaker says it looks like August will be more of the same. “Temperatures, at least in the beginning part of August, I still expect will be averaging well above normal,” he says.
“Normal highs right now are about 85 or so so 90s is well above normal.” There’s a chance for a few more rain showers on the horizon but “nothing looks very substantial.” Temperatures for the next week are expected to be above-normal but not as extreme as the past couple weeks. Forecasters also say another sustained period of 100-degree-plus weather is not likely, at least for the next few weeks.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City