NATIONAL WEATHER SUMMARY
1-8: A strengthening ridge of high pressure led to hot, dry conditions in the south-central U.S., stretching as far east as the lower Mississippi Valley. In the ridge-affected areas, multiple days of triple-digit heat further reduced topsoil moisture and caused deterioration in the health of pastures and immature summer crops. In contrast, slightly cooler weather accompanied a mid- to late-week increase in Southeastern shower activity. Despite the showers, pockets of drought persisted in the southern Atlantic States. While the aforementioned heat baked much of the southern Plains. Conditions were less harsh on the southern Plains, where heat was less intense and showers occurred early in the week and again at week’s end. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather dominated the Northeast and Far
West, while surges of monsoon related showers spread northward from the Four Corners States. Roughly three dozen wildfires remained active in the Pacific Coast States, although cooler conditions aided containment efforts. Record-setting heat persisted early in the week across the Northwest. With a high of 104F on August 2, Yakima, WA, reported its last of four consecutive triple-digit readings—and 22nd day this year with a high of 100F or greater. Meanwhile, heat intensified across the Deep South. By August 4, daily-record highs included 104F in McAllen, TX, and 102F in Jackson, MS, and Columbia, SC. The heat stretched as far west as New Mexico, where Roswell posted consecutive daily-record highs (106 and 107F, respectively) on August 5-6. Toward week’s end, temperatures further climbed across the South. On August 8, Vicksburg, MS, collected a daily-record high of 103F. In Louisiana, Audubon Park in New Orleans closed the week with consecutive daily-record highs of 100F on August 7-8. In contrast, cooler air settled across much of the West. Cedar City, UT, notched a daily-record low of 49F on August 4. Three days later, Baker City, OR, tallied a record-setting low (37F) for August 7.
9-15: Widespread showers provided beneficial moisture for pastures and immature summer crops across the eastern one-third of the U.S. Some of the heaviest rain fell across Florida’s peninsula, where 2 to 4 inch totals were common. Farther west, showers were much more scattered across the nation’s mid-section. Hot weather covered the northern Plains with weekly temperatures averaged at least 5F above normal in much of Montana and North Dakota, topping the 100-degree mark in many locations on the northern Plains. Hot weather also prevailed across the nation’s southern tier, especially from the Desert Southwest into the lower Mississippi Valley. Despite spotty showers, extreme heat maintained significant stress on pastures and immature crops in a broad area centered on the western Gulf Coast region. Meanwhile, significant shower activity related to the monsoon circulation occurred in Arizona and the southern Rockies, with some rain spreading into the adjacent Plains. Elsewhere, widely scattered showers dotted the Intermountain West and the Northwest, while dry weather covered the remainder of the western U.S. In northern California and the
Northwest, dozens of new wildfires— many sparked by lightning and spread by erratic winds—degraded air quality and threatened several communities. In the western Gulf Coast region, a final flurry of daily-record highs occurred early in the week. On August 10, daily-record highs reached 106F in Tyler, TX, and 105F in Alexandria, LA. The following day, record-setting highs in Texas for August 11 soared to 106F in Houston and College Station. Shreveport, LA, reported 9 consecutive triple-digit days from August 3-11, including a high of 107°F (not a record) on the 10th. Extreme heat lingered, however, in southern Texas. In McAllen, TX, temperatures topped the 100-degree mark on each of the first 15 days of the month, peaking with a daily-record high of 106°F on August 13.
Meanwhile, heat returned to the interior Northwest. In Washington, daily-record highs for August 12 climbed to 104F in Omak and 103F in Wenatchee. In Idaho, Boise collected a trio of triple-digit readings from August 11-13, including a daily-record high of 106F on the 13th. During the second half of the week, heat developed in the Southwest and spread eastward across the northern U.S. Roswell, NM, posted consecutive daily-record highs (104°F both days) on August 13-14. Farther north, daily record highs for August 13 in Montana included 99F in Great Falls and 98F in Helena. The following day, August 14, daily record highs were set in locations such as Miles City, MT (105F), and Sheridan, WY (104F). August 14-15 featured consecutive daily record highs in locations such as Yuma, AZ (115 and 117 F); Tucson, AZ (107 and 110°F); Minot, ND (101 and 100F); and Albuquerque, NM (98F both days). Other daily-record highs for August 15 included 117F in Needles, CA; 105F in Bismarck, ND; and 101F in Santa Cruz, CA.
16-22: Rain soaked much of the upper Midwest, providing a generally favorable boost in soil moisture in the Midwest in areas where little rain had fallen during the first half of August. Scattered showers dotted the remainder of the Corn Belt, accompanied by a turn toward cooler weather. In fact, below-normal temperatures dominated the Plains, mid-South, and upper Midwest, where weekly temperatures averaged as much as 5 to 10F below normal. Meanwhile, widespread showers were also noted in several other areas, including the Plains and the South. In the latter region, rain arrived too late to benefit some summer crops but improved topsoil moisture and helped to revive pastures. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather prevailed in the West, except for a few showers in Arizona and the central and southern Rockies. Despite a spell of cooler weather, much of the interior
Northwest continued to experience degraded air quality due to wildfire smoke. In addition, lightning strikes, erratic winds, and underlying drought contributed to Northwestern wildfire ignition and expansion. Through August 23, the nation’s year-to-date total of nearly 7.5 million acres of vegetation burned by wildfires was 143 percent of the 10-year average.
Early-week heat baked California, where daily-record highs for August 16 soared to 118F in Needles; 115F in Palm Springs; 107F in Gilroy, and 102F in Burbank. By August 17, record-setting heat moved into California’s Central Valley, where Bakersfield posted a high of
109F. Elsewhere in California, Modesto opened the week with consecutive daily-record highs (104 and 105F, respectively) on August 16-17. Meanwhile, heat briefly spread from the Midwest into the East. From August 14-16, La Crosse, WI, notched three consecutive highs of 90F or greater for the first time since August 28-30, 2013. In Michigan, Alpena registered consecutive daily record highs (93 and 92F, respectively) on August 16-17. Scattered daily-record highs in the East included 97F (on August 17) in Newark, NJ, and 96F (on August 20) in Tampa, FL. In contrast, a surge of cool air entered the nation’s mid-section, preceded and accompanied by high winds. On August 17 in Wyoming, wind gusts were clocked to 59 mph in Buffalo and Riverton. Denver, CO, followed a daily-record high of 98F on August 15 with consecutive daily-record lows of 47F on August 18 and 19. Sheridan, WY, logged a daily-record low of 39°F on August 19. The following day, record-setting lows for August 20 included 50°F in Fayetteville, AR, and Oklahoma City, OK. During the mid- to late-week period, hot weather stretched from the Pacific Coast to the south-central U.S. Selected daily-record highs reached 106°F (on August 19) in McAllen, TX, and 102°F (on August 22) in Roswell, NM. In advance of a new cold front, Pueblo, CO, warmed from a daily record low of 50F on August 20 to a daily-record high of 100F on August 22. In Oregon, Portland posted consecutive daily-record highs (96 and 97F, respectively) on August 18-19—and set a record for the number of 90-degree days in a year. Portland’s tally of 90-degree readings reached 26 days, surpassing its 2009 standard of 24 days.
23-29: Tropical Storm Erika disintegrated long before reaching Florida, but the storm’s remnant moisture contributed to heavy, late-week showers in the southern Atlantic region. Cool, dry weather covered much of the remainder of the South and East, except for warm, showery conditions in northern New England. Very cool, mostly dry weather also dominated much of the Midwest, where weekly temperatures averaged at least 5F below normal in most locations. Conditions remained dry in the Midwest. Rapid warming occurred in the Midwest with temperatures topped 100F as far north as western Nebraska by August 26, followed by late-week heat that resulted in readings near the 100-degree mark in eastern Montana and environs. Elsewhere, monsoon-related showers remained active in the Four Corners States, but hot, dry weather covered other areas of the western U.S. Dozens of
Northwestern wildfires, in various stages of containment, charred thousands of additional acres. Toward week’s end, however, favorably cooler weather accompanied scattered Northwestern showers, although most of the meaningful rain was limited to areas near the Pacific Coast.
Early in the week, very cool air settled across the northern Plains and the northern Intermountain West. With a low of 29F on August 23, Casper, WY, reported its earliest freeze on record (previously, 32F on September 1, 1965). Casper’s previous lowest August temperature had been 33°F on August 31, 1977. Also on the 23rd, Rapid City, SD (38F), tied a monthly record most recently set on August 30, 1992, while Worland, WY (35F), reported its second-lowest August reading behind only 34°F on August 30, 1964. Meanwhile in Montana, daily record lows for August 23 dipped below the freezing mark in locations such as Choteau (28F), Livingston (30), and Kalispell (31F). With 30F, Sheridan, WY, also notched a daily-record low for August 23.
Later, cool air settled across the Plains, Midwest, South, and East. On August 25-26, consecutive daily-record lows were set in locations such as Paducah, KY (52F both days), and Cape Girardeau, MO (52 and 51F). Other daily-record lows included 38F (on August 24) in Valentine, NE; 42F (on August 25) in Sisseton, SD; 46F (on August 26) in Ottumwa, IA; and 51F (on August 27) in Springfield, MO. In contrast, heat quickly returned to the northern Intermountain West and the High Plains. Idaho Falls, ID, noted a daily-record high of 97F on August 25. The following day, record-setting highs in Nebraska for August 26 included 102°F in Imperial and 101F in Sidney. Heat also returned to California, where daily-record highs reached 107F (on August 28) in King City and 105°F (on August 26)
in Paso Robles. In Pocatello, ID, the week began with a daily-record low (36F on August 23) and ended with a daily-record high (97F on August 29).
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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