PULLMAN, Wash. – If you thought it seemed especially hot last month, even for summer, you’re right. Prosser’s average July 2013 high temperature was the warmest on record for any month since AgWeatherNet records began in 1990.
A Web based, publicly available system, AgWeatherNet provides access to near real-time weather data and value-added products from Washington State University’s statewide weather network, along with decision aids for agricultural producers and other users.
Temperatures east of the Cascades were generally four or more degrees above average during the day and around three degrees warmer than normal overall, making July the 12th of the last 13 months to be warmer than average.
The month began with a bang (even before Independence Day celebrations), as the July 1-2 heat wave spawned the warmest temperatures to occur so early in the summer since 1992.
Overall, central Washington’s early July temperatures were the hottest since 2009. Highs reached 108 degrees at Benton City, with low temperatures as warm as 81 at Wallula. Prosser tied a previous record with nine consecutive days over 95 degrees July 18-26.
“Most Washington crops have been faring well during the recent period of maturation and harvest,” said Gerrit Hoogenboom, AgWeatherNet director. “The biggest agricultural concerns during July were preventing or reducing heat stress and sunburn on Washington crops.”
While heat was the big story east of the Cascades, dry conditions were the main meteorological highlight for western areas. Although summer is normally the dry season, many sites in western Washington received no rainfall at all during the month. Mount Vernon experienced only its second rain-free month since records began in 1993.
“Unfortunately, the hot and dry conditions have created a dangerous environment of parched timber and brush fuels across eastern Washington,” said AgWeatherNet meteorologist Nic Loyd. “Recently, we experienced first-hand the consequences of the dry summer weather, which include major wildfires near Satus Pass and Wenatchee.” An ominous layer of wildfire smoke lay over most of eastern Washington at the end of July.
There were a few meteorological change-ups to punctuate an otherwise hot, dry July. A strong thunderstorm on July 17 produced a quick 0.28 inches of rainfall at St. Andrews in only 15 minutes.
Also, during a few brief periods of slightly cooler weather, dry air allowed for chilly temperatures in isolated pockets of eastern Washington. LaCrosse fell to a brisk 37 degrees on the mornings of July 12 and 13.