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Published on July 26th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor


Climate Change News from Earth Gauge

Get your weekly dose of climate change news from Earth Gauge! Earth Gauge is a free environmental news service from the National Environmental Education Foundation. This super in-depth (and slightly scary) US national climate change news is from their weekly email. Sign up here to get climate change news in your inbox too!

National Climate Summary: Highlights from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

The average United States temperature was two degrees Fahrenheit above normal during the month of June 2013, with total precipitation 0.54 inches above normal. Eighteen states from Georgia to Maine had June precipitations ranking among their tenth wettest. Conversely, the West reported below-average precipitation for June and Utah had a record dry period with precipitation 0.66 inches below average.  The Western, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions were warmer than average. Alaska was much warmer in June at 4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Other items of note:

  • The Black Forest Fire in Colorado burned more than 14,000 acres and destroyed more than 500 homes, being the most destructive wildfire in state history.
  • 44.1 percent of the contiguous US experienced drought conditions in June, especially throughout the West, Central and Southern Plains, ranging from severe D2 to exceptional D4.
  • The contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was 26 times higher than average.


Climate Fact: Dryness Eased by Plentiful Rain in the Northeast:

The Northeast was 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average in June, with the exception of New York which was 0.1 Fahrenheit below average. Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland and Massachusetts were the four warmest states in the region and ranked among the top 20 warmest states.  In early June, New England, New York and New Jersey experienced abnormal dryness ranging from abnormal D0 to moderate D1; however, plentiful rain eased dryness in those states later in the month. June was the third wettest month in the Northeast receiving 7.19 inches of precipitation, 172 percent of normal. New Jersey (238 percent of normal) and Delaware (283 percent of normal) had the highest precipitation records for the region. Several EF-0 tornadoes were reported throughout the region, damaging homes, vehicles and various structures.  Flooding was reported from northern New Jersey to coastal Massachusetts, as well as in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Climate Fact: Second Straight Month of Severe Weather across the Midwest:

June temperatures across the Midwest were within 2 degrees Fahrenheit of normal. June precipitation was unequally distributed across the Midwest. Precipitation was more than 50 percent of normal in southern Missouri, northern half of Michigan, northwest and north central Minnesota, and from west Iowa to central Illinois. Precipitation was twice of normal for south Wisconsin, southeast Michigan and northeast Ohio. Precipitation in remaining areas was normal. June was the second straight month of severe weather across the Midwest with a derecho moving across the region on June 12, leading 15 days of severe weather events. Tornadoes were reported in all Midwest states with the exception of Missouri and Michigan.

Climate Fact: June was Exceptionally Wet for the Southeast:

Temperatures were up to 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in most of the Southeast region, except for southwest Florida, central portions of Georgia and the Carolinas. Minimum temperatures for June were exceptionally warm, up to 6 degrees Fahrenheit above average, breaking 200 daily records. More than half of the region reported 200 to 400 percent of normal precipitation. Augusta and Macon, Georgia had their wettest Junes on record. Greensboro, North Carolina and Roanoke, Virginia had the highest number of rainy days for any June on record. There was widespread rain from Florida to Virginia due to Tropical Storm Andrea. A plume of tropical moisture produced heavy rainfall and flooding, damaging 60 buildings at the University of North Carolina. There were 21 tornadoes reported in June.  A derecho coming from the Midwest crossed Virginia, North Carolina, North South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, resulting in four casualties throughout the Southeast.

Climate Fact: Wildfires, Flooding and Heavy Winds Affect High Plains: 

Severe weather prevailed for the High Plains during the month of June.  Temperatures were near normal in the east portion and above normal in the west portion of the High Plains. Colorado Springs, Colorado reported June as the sixth warmest on record. Laramie, Wyoming had the second warmest June on record. Precipitation was uneven throughout the region. June was dry with most areas receiving less than 70 percent of normal precipitation. Colorado and Wyoming had less than 50 percent of normal, and many locations received little to no precipitation. Conversely, northeast Wyoming and northwest and southeast North Dakota had ample precipitation. The Red River Valley had heavy precipitation, hail, wind and flooding. Fargo, North Dakota had the seventh wettest June on record. Forest fires included the Black Forest Fire which started June 11 and was the most destructive in Colorado’s history, burning over 500 homes.  A second fire, the West Fork Complex Fire burned over 92,000 acres of forest. A tornado was also reported across the eastern side of the Denver International Airport on June 18.

Climate Fact: The South Warms Up With Variable Precipitation:  

The Southern region had slightly warmer June temperatures, with up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Texas had the highest average temperature, which was its 17th warmest on record. By the end of June, several cities in Texas saw their greatest maximum temperatures ever. June was drier than normal, with Central Texas being the driest area where precipitation was less than half the expected value. Northwest Arkansas and southeast Louisiana also experienced less than half of the expected precipitation. Conversely, Eastern Tennessee was the wettest state in the region, with 150 to 200 percent of normal. Severe to extreme drought continues in much of Texas and Oklahoma.  A series of storms in early to mid-June knocked power out and hospitalized people in Maverick County and Houston, Texas. On June 14, a tornado passed through Uvalde County Texas, fortunately causing no injuries.


Climate Fact: Record Breaking Heat and Forest Fires in the Western Region:

The Western region presented extreme warm and dry June conditions in its southern portion, whereas the northern section had cooler and wetter conditions. Tucson, Arizona reported its warmest June on record with all days in triple digit highs. Death Valley, California recorded the highest June reading in U.S. history, reaching 129 degrees Fahrenheit. Las Vegas, Nevada tied its all-time high temperature record for any month. Elko, Nevada and Salt Lake, Utah tied their all-time highest temperature records for June. Mid-June brought a heat wave to Alaska, where several locations broke their high temperature records of all time. Many locations in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona did not report June precipitation. There were 28 large fires in the Western region. The Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona (June 28), grew fast and changed wind and fire movements trapping and killing 19 firefighters. The heat and dryness in Alaska increased the incidence of fires. Thunderstorms in isolated locations brought relief to eastern New Mexico and the Great Basin, Arizona. Conversely, a low pressure system increased precipitation in Washington, northeast Oregon, north Montana and the Idaho panhandle. Washington reported its second wettest June on record. Glasglow, Montana reported 180 percent of normal precipitation.


Earth image from Shutterstock/ Anteromite; US map image from Shutterstock/welcomia

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