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1st-10th…Flooding rains struck portions of the central Plains and Mid-South, while only light showers fell in still-dry sections of the western Midwest. In fact, parts of northern Missouri received no rain, but more than 10 inches of rain triggered severe flooding in south-central
Missouri. The axis of heaviest rain, 4 to 10 inches or more, stretched from south-central Kansas eastward across the Ozark Plateau. Rain also bypassed much of Texas and the western Gulf Coast region, where persistently hot weather and diminishing soil moisture and stressed rangeland, pastures and summer crops. The monsoon circulation contributed to frequent showers in the Southwest, while lightning-sparked fires became a concern in the Northwest. During the first 10 days of August, rainfall totaled 10.60 inches in West Plains, MO, and 7.95 inches in Wichita, KS. West Plains received at least an inch of rain on 5 consecutive days from August 5-9, totaling 8.90 inches. On August 8, daily-record totals topped 3 inches in several locations, including Medicine Lodge, KS (3.21 inches), and Harrison, AR (3.09 inches). Elsewhere in Arkansas, Batesville (3.29 inches on August 8) reported its wettest August day on record, topping the 2.88-inch total of August 9, 1940. In Missouri, the Gasconade River achieved record-high levels in Jerome (16.81 feet above flood stage on August 7) and Rich Fountain (14.39 feet above flood stage on August 8). In both locations, previous crest records had been established in December 1982. Late in the week, heavy showers affected the East, where daily-record totals for August 9 included 3.79 inches in Hartford, CT; 2.85 inches in Bowling Green, KY; 2.53 inches in Georgetown, DE; and 2.04 inches in Muscle Shoals, AL. Meanwhile in the Northwest, scattered showers provided little relief from ongoing heat. Nevertheless, record-setting totals for August 10 in Washington reached 0.60 inch in Omak and 0.29 inch in Wenatchee. For Omak, it was the wettest day since June 24, when 0.96 inch fell. Two days earlier, Reno, NV (1.03 inches of rain, along with some hail, on August 8), had reported its wettest day since June 5, 2011. Meanwhile, heavy precipitation developed across southern Alaska, boosting weekly totals to 3.34 inches in Valdez and 2.48 inches in Kodiak. Valdez also netted a daily-record rainfall of 1.98 inches on August 10.
11th-17th… Heavy rain returned to the lower Southeast, maintaining adequate to surplus soil moisture for pastures and summer crops. Some of the wettest areas received more than 4 inches of rain. Rain also fell across the central and southern Plains, where 1 to 3-inch totals were common. The rain was most beneficial in Nebraska and Texas, where mostly dry weather had prevailed the previous week. In contrast, little or no precipitation fell across the northern Plains and the majority of the Midwest. Midwestern dryness has been more pervasive in the last month, while 2-month rainfall deficits have been most acute in Iowa (excluding the northeast) and northern Missouri. Despite the recent Northwestern wildfire activity, the year-to-date U.S. total of 3.33 million burned acres was just 62 percent of the 10-year average. Before monsoon shower activity subsided in the Southwest, Douglas, AZ, secured its wettest summer on record. Rainfall in
Douglas totaled 13.23 inches from June 1 – August 17, surpassing its summer 1964 standard of 13.07 inches. Similarly, month-to-date rainfall in Wichita, KS, climbed to 10.98 inches, second only to an 11.96-inch total in August 2005. Elsewhere in Kansas, daily-record rainfall totals for August 12 reached 2.29 inches in Dodge City and 1.42 inches in Garden City. Heavy showers also soaked parts of the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, resulting in daily-record amounts in locations such as Wilmington, DE (3.10 inches on August 13), and Jackson, KY (2.40 inches on August 12). During the mid- to late-week period, even heavier showers drenched portions of the Southeast. Columbus, GA, received a daily-record sum of 5.73 inches on August 14. Two days later, Columbia, SC, collected 4.38 inches, a record-setting amount for August 16. Showers lingered through week’s end, when daily-record totals for August 17 included 2.90 inches in Greensboro, NC, and 2.20 inches in Tallahassee, FL. Alaska’s warm summer continued, with weekly temperatures averaging as much as 5°F above normal. With a high of 71F on August 13, Anchorage recorded its 41st day of 70-degree warmth; the annual standard remains 49 days in 2004. In addition, heavy precipitation developed across parts of southern Alaska, resulting in a daily-record total of 1.23 inches in Anchorage on August 11. In the Aleutians, Cold Bay received a weekly rainfall total of 1.17 inches.
18th-24th…During the mid- to late-week period, locally severe thunderstorms accompanied heat across the nation’s northern tier. Duluth, MN, registered a daily-record high of 91F on August 20, followed the next day by a thunderstorm wind gust to 62 mph (and 1.63 inches of rain) in Green Bay, WI. A few days later, Dillon, MT, clocked an August-record wind gust to 70 mph during a thunderstorm on August 23. It was Dillon’s highest wind gust since July 24, 2009, when there was also a gust to 70 mph. Daily-record rainfall totals accompanying the Northern storms included 1.84 inches (on August 20) in Alexandria, MN; 1.43 inches (on August 22) in Massena, NY; and 1.33 inches (on August 21) in Muskegon, MI. Heavy showers also dotted the Southeast, resulting in daily-record amounts in locations such as Pensacola, FL (3.46 inches on August 18); Fayetteville, NC (2.27 inches on August 21); and Macon, GA (2.15 inches on August 23). In Tampa, FL, where weekly rainfall totaled 3.96 inches, precipitation has topped 10 inches in each of the summer months (June, July, and August) for the first time since 1957. Meanwhile, locally heavy rain also fell in the Southwest, producing daily-record totals in Colorado Springs, CO (2.36 inches on August 22); Needles, CA (1.05 inches on August 22); and Cedar City, UT (0.84 inch on August 24). In stark contrast, month-to-date rainfall through August 24 totaled less than one-tenth of an inch in Midwestern locations such as Iowa City, IA (0.08 inch, or 2 percent of normal), and Aberdeen, SD (0.05 inch, or 3 percent).
25th-31st…Significant showers affected portions of the Great Lakes region, where Lansing, MI, experienced its wettest August day on record (3.39 inches on August 27). Lansing’s total exceeded the previous record of 3.08 inches, established on August 21, 1975. Locally heavy showers also dotted the Ohio Valley, Pacific Northwest, and the Dakotas, resulting in daily-record totals in locations such as Lexington, KY (2.09 inches on August 31); Olympia, WA (1.33 inches on August 29); and East Rapid City, SD (1.16 inches on August 30). Heavy rain also continued in the Southwest, where record-setting totals for August 25 included 1.76 inches in Cortez, CO, and 1.19 inches in Indio, CA Douglas, AZ, completed its wettest summer on record, with a June-August total of 14.08 inches, or 213 percent of normal (previously, 13.07 inches in 1964).
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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