Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Yin and Yang of July Rainfall

There are two features of the July 2013 precipitation map that pop out. The first is the unusually high rainfall in the southeastern U.S., and the other is the very dry conditions in the the northwestern U.S.

Percent of normal precipitation for July 1-31, 2013.
Credit: NOAA Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

The axis of the high July rainfall in the southeastern U.S. extended from northeastern Georgia through western North Carolina. As of today there are at eight CoCoRaHS stations in western North Carolina that accumulated 25 or more inches of rain during July alone, with the observer at NC-AV-4
(Linville 2.4 ENE) reporting a total of 29.24 inches of rain! Avery County, NC has a normal July rainfall of 5.89 inches and 57.39 inches of precipitation annually. This observer recorded measurable rain on 29 of 31 days during July, and 12 days with an inch or more. Through the end of July NC-AV-4 has accumulated 75.69 inches of precipitation this year, with just a little less than half the year to go. The story is similar for many of the locations in western North Carolina.  The southeastern U.S. is waterlogged, and there may not be much of a break. The current weather pattern with an upper level trough over the eastern U.S. will continue to funnel disturbances southeastward for the next week or so.

7-day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast for the period ending 8:00 a.m. EDT August 7.
Credit: NOAA Weather Prediction Center

Also, though the tropics have been fairly quiet so far we are just starting to climb toward the peak of the hurricane season, and any storms that make landfall along the southeast or Gulf coasts could potentially bring heavy rain to these same areas. With just normal rainfall the rest of the year, the observer at NC-AV-4 would measure close to 100 inches of rain for 2013.

Observed precipitation for July 1-31, 2013.
Credit: NOAA Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service
On the other side of the country, it was a bone-dry July in the Pacific Northwest south through the northern half of California. In Oregon, the highest precipitation total for July was 0.13 inches at OR-WL-6 (Lostine 2.4 ESE) (of all stations with 31 days of observations and no multi-day reports overlapping the end of June). A number of other locations had a few hundredths of an inch for the month, and many recorded zero.  July, August, and September are typically the dry months of the year, with a normal July rainfall of 0.95 inches at OR-WL-6. In the state of Washington it was much the same story. Many CoCoRaHs stations repored no rain at all during the month, and a lucky few had as much as one quarter of an inch. The observer at WA-FY-1 (Republic 4.2 N) recorded 0.88 for July, with measureable rain on five days and 0.64 as the largest single-day amount. Normal July rainfall for this location is 1.47 inches.

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