Aside from an outburst of destructive tornadoes two weeks ago, the just completed month of July was fairly uneventful in terms of weather.
State Climatologist Justin Glisan says it was a welcome change from the extremes Iowans experienced the previous three months. “April was the coldest April on record, May was the warmest May on record, and then June was the 10th warmest and 10th wettest on record,” Glisan said. “Then, we get to July and compared to those months, it’s kind of ‘ho-hum,’ we’re almost in the middle for average temperature and almost in the middle for precipitation.”
The statewide preliminary average rainfall total for July is 3.5 inches. That’s just an inch below normal for a typical July. “It has seemed dry, especially in the southern part of the state – where they’re in drought conditions. They’re in a deficit of rainfall, over the past three years in some places, up to 20 inches,” Glisan said. “Then, you have the northern part of the state that has been getting too much rain.” The statewide preliminary average temperature last month — 73.3 degrees — is only three-tenths-of-a-degree below normal for a typical July.
“The beginning of the month was really hot, but we made up for it towards the end of the month with below average temperatures across much of the state,” Glisan said. The highest temperature recorded in Iowa last month was 101-degrees, in Lamoni, on July 13th. The towns of Stanley, Sheldon, and Waukon tied for the coldest temperature of 48 on July 27th and 28th.
It appears July 2018 will wind-up being the 55th coolest July in state history (tied with 1928 and 1981). 1936 was the warmest July of record, at 82.7 degrees…about 9 degrees above normal. Overall, 2009 was the coldest July on record at 68 degrees, almost six degrees below normal.
The National Weather Service is still investigating, but so far, 12 tornadoes have been confirmed in Iowa last month. They all happened on the same day, with the three strongest twisters touching down in Marshalltown, Pella, and Bondurant.
“On the 19th, we had three large population centers taking direct hits, which does not happen at all,” Glisan said. Only minor injuries were reported in that tornado outbreak. Through the first seven months of 2018, there have been 27 tornadoes confirmed in Iowa.