July was the hottest month on record for the
contiguous United States, according to government scientists. Drought now covers
nearly 63% of the landmass of the Lower 48 states, where average precipitation
is 0.19 inch below average.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), the average temperature across the contiguous United
States in July was 77.6 Fahrenheit, a full 3.3 degrees above the 20th century
average. The previous warmest July was in 1936, the Dust Bowl year of the
Great Depression, when the average temperature was 77.4 degrees.
The hot July contributed to a record-warm first
seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has
experienced since reliable record-keeping started in 1895.
Weeks of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees
Celsius) heat continued across the Central Plains and Midwest during July.
Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri had July precipitation totals ranking
among their ten driest. Maine had its fifth driest July on record. The reduced wheat output of the world’s top
grain exporter will impact food prices later in the year. Cattle are also were
less inclined to breed in the high temperatures according to ranchers.
USDA drought information page
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