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NOAA image of July 2005 state temperature rankings.Aug. 16, 2005 An extended heat wave in July pushed the nation's average temperature higher than normal, while global temperatures were second-highest on record for the month, according to scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (Click NOAA image for larger view of July 2005 state temperature rankings. Please credit “NOAA.”)

U.S. Temperature:
NOAA scientists report that the average temperature for the contiguous United States for July (based on preliminary data) was 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) above the mean for 1895-2004. This was the twelfth warmest July on record, with widespread heat across the nation, including much above average temperatures throughout the Southwest and West. Nine states had much above normal temperature for July, with an additional 33 states above average. Only six states in the contiguous U.S. were near average and no state was cooler than average for July. Nevada had its second warmest July on record.

Most of the warmth occurred during an extended heat wave (July 11- 27), when mean temperatures in parts of the West exceeded 5-10 degrees F above average. More than 200 cities broke daily high temperature records, with Denver, Colo., having its second warmest July since 1872 and equaling the all-time highest daily temperature record of 105 degrees F, set in 1878.

Las Vegas tied its all-time record daily maximum temperature of 117 degrees F, and had five consecutive days with temperatures exceeding 115 degrees F. In the last few days of July, the warmth crept eastward and was briefly replaced by cooler temperatures in the northern Plains setting new daily low temperature records in some locations. Temperatures across Alaska were above average, with a statewide temperature of 2.0 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) above the 1971-2000 mean, ranking 4th warmest since 1918.

NOAA image of July 2005 state precipitation rankings.U.S. Precipitation:
Precipitation was near average for the nation overall, with unusually dry conditions across the Rockies, High Plains and the mid-to-upper Mississippi Valley. This contrasted with above average wetness in the Southeast, in large part related to land-falling tropical storm activity. Georgia and Alabama both had their fifth wettest July on record, while Colorado and New Mexico were third and fourth driest, respectively. Salt Lake City, Utah, had only one percent of its average July rainfall, while Great Falls, Mont., recorded only 7 percent of its normal July precipitation. (Click NOAA image for larger view of July 2005 state precipitation rankings. Please credit “NOAA.”)

At the end of July, moderate-to-extreme drought (as defined by a widely-used measure of drought—the Palmer Drought Index) affected 17 percent of the West (Rockies westward), an increase of 6 percent from June 2005. The heat wave, combined with drier-than-average conditions in the Midwest, also took a toll on the corn crop, with drought declarations in both Wisconsin and Illinois. The dry weather in the West triggered wildfires, burning acres well above the 10-year average as of the end of July. A wet fall and winter resulted in extensive undergrowth, providing abundant fuel for the summer fires.

There were five named storms in July 2005: Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin and Gert. Both Dennis and Emily became hurricanes, with approximately 32 deaths blamed on Dennis as it moved through the Caribbean region. Cindy and Dennis made landfall in the U.S., Cindy as a tropical storm around Grand Isle, La., and Dennis as a major Category 3 hurricane around Navarre Beach, Fla. Cindy's major impact was rainfall and flooding across the southeastern states, while Dennis produced a large storm surge and rain-related flooding across the Southeast.

The average global temperature anomaly for combined land and ocean surfaces for July (based on preliminary data) was 1.1 degrees F (0.6 degrees C) above the 1880-2004 long-term mean. This was the second warmest July since 1880 (the beginning of reliable instrumental records). The warmest July was in 1998 with an anomaly of 1.2 degrees F (0.7 degrees C) above the mean. There were warmer than average conditions in Scandinavia, much of Asia, North Africa and the western U.S., while below-average temperatures occurred in northern Canada and northern Alaska. Ocean temperatures were also second highest on record.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites
Climate of 2005—July in Historical Perspective

NOAA National Climatic Data Center

NOAA Drought Information Center

Media Contact:
John Leslie, NOAA Satellites and Information Service, (301) 457-5004