Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

July's record legacy

July rain record fluky; overnight warmth was for real.

July's record legacy

Officially, the final July rain total at Philadelphia International Airport was 13.24, well surpassing the previous July record of 10.42, set in 1994.

Officially in this case would be a significant qualifier, and as we've mentioned, the monthly total was swollen tremendously by deluges atop the  National Weather Service rain gauge between 3 and 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Away from the airport and a narrow corridor along the Jersey side of the Delware, the totals Sunday, and thus for the month, were unexceptional. That's one reason that today's downpours haven't set off major, widespread flooding.

More impressive to us was the overnight warming in July. The temperature never got below 70 during the first 24 days of the month, part of a record-setting streak..

The average daily low for Philadelphia in July was 73.1. In records dating to 1874, that was No. 2 on the all-time list for lows in July, behind 1994’s 73.4.

What's more, the overnight warmth was part of a trend. The last four Julys rank among the top 5 for the highest minimum temperatures for the month. 

In the last decade, the average July low temperature was 70.6. By contrast, the average July low for both the 1960s and 1980s was 67.2 --- that's a 3.4 degree difference.

Overall, the month finished at 80.6 degrees, or 2.5 degrees above the 30-year normal.

As for that aforementioned rainfall, the rain gauge was functioning just fine, according to Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist in charge of the local weather service office.

The airport total was better than 300 percent of normal, which would be 4.35 inches.

But the citywide total for the month, as calculated by the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, in State College, was under 4.8 inches -- slightly below average.

The center, a National Weather Service division, uses the measurements of stations throughout a county to come up with countywide totals.

The neighboring counties on both sides of the river weighed in with 6 to 7 inches -- 125 to 150 percent of normal.

But none of those monthly county totals matched fell at the airport in just a four-hour period on Sunday — 7.35 inches.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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