NOAA: U.S. warmer and drier than normal in June
July 8, 2011
June 2011 brought temperature and precipitation extremes across the United States. An oppressive heat wave, accompanied by intensifying drought conditions, shattered temperature records in the South and Southwest. Overall, the nation had its 19th driest and 26th warmest June on record, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C.
The average U.S. temperature in June was 70.7 degrees F, which is 1.4 degrees F above the long-term (1901-2000) average. Precipitation, averaged across the nation, was 2.48 inches. This was 0.41 inch below the long-term average, with large variability in different locations. This monthly analysis, based on records dating back to 1895, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.
U.S. Climate Highlights – June
June 2011 temperature "divisional rank" maps.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
- Several locations broke all-time high temperature records. On June 26, Amarillo, Texas, set an all-time high temperature record of 111 degrees F, breaking the record of 109 degrees F set just two days prior. On June 15, Tallahassee, Fla., also recorded an all-time high, 105 degrees F. For the month, 42 U.S. locations tied or broke all-time maximum high temperatures.
- The expansive heat across Texas resulted in an average temperature of 85.2 degrees F, which was 5.6 degrees F above normal, surpassing 1953 as the warmest June in 117 years of records. This was the fourth consecutive June in Texas with temperatures at least 2 degrees F above the long-term average.
- Both Louisiana and Oklahoma (tied) had their second warmest June. Georgia tied for its third warmest. It was the sixth warmest for Arkansas, Delaware (tied), Florida, Mississippi, and New Mexico.
- Along with the heat, parts of the Southwest through much of the Southern Plains and Gulf Coast experienced a continuation of intense drought. New Mexico had its driest June on record while Arizona and Oklahoma had their fourth driest. June was the fifth driest in Texas and the ninth driest in Florida.
- According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 63 percent of the Southeast was in moderate-to-exceptional drought at the end of June, compared to 51 percent at the end of May. In the South, the percent area in the worst category of drought, called exceptional drought, rose from 28 percent to 47 percent.
- Above average wildfire activity continued across the Southern tier of the United States. Nationwide, 1.35 million acres burned during the month, bringing the year-to-date acreage burned to approximately 4.8 million acres -- the most on record for the period -- and more than twice the decadal average.
- Precipitation was much above normal in most of California, resulting in the state's wettest June on record. Heavier-than-normal precipitation and prolonged snowmelt during the spring caused June flooding in Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Washington. The greatest flows on the Missouri River forced record amounts of water to be released from Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana.
- Cooler-than-normal temperatures prevailed in the West, Northwest and the western High Plains. It was the 12th coolest June for the Northwest.
Other U.S. Climate Highlights
June 2011 precipitation "divisional rank" map.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
- Both Oregon and Washington (tied) - and the Northwest Region - had their coolest April-June period on record. Meanwhile, the South had its second warmest and the Southeast its third warmest such period.
- Record warmth dominated Texas during the past three months. A total of 14 states, mostly in the South and Southeast United States experienced an average April-June temperature among their 10 warmest.
- Record precipitation caused by a persistent storm track across the northern U.S. drove the wettest April-June period in the High Plains and the Ohio Valley area. Within the Ohio Valley area, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan had their wettest April-June on record.
- For the year-to-date period, three drought-stricken states - Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas - had their driest January-June on record. In that time, Louisiana was 11.72 inches below its 20th century year-to-date average 29.16 inches. Texas was more than eight inches below its average of 13.83 inches and New Mexico was nearly 3.5 inches below its average of 4.68 inches at this point in the calendar year.
NCDC’s monthly reports are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as new scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing algorithms.
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