Cotton Field

July 2012 Climate Update

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North Carolina Climate, the monthly newsletter of the State Climate Office of NC, covers the climate office's participation in StormFest at the Museum of Natural Sciences, and a monthly climate summary for June with impacts across the state.

 

StormFest

StormFest 2012 captured the attention of over 5,500 visitors on June 16th at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences! The State Climate Office of NC (SCO) represented the history of severe weather with a booth that included a mock-up weather station. SCO scientists explained how certain parameters, such as wind speed and solar radiation, are measured and archived at weather stations across the state. Other highlights at the SCO booth were a tornado machine and several hands-on experiments, such as the cloud-in-a-bottle experiment and the can crushing experiment. Special thanks to John White with Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg for coordinating the demonstrations at our booth!

 

Climate Summary for June: Dry and Cool (Really?!)

Temperature and Precipitation by climate division
Departures from Normal for June 2012
Based on Preliminary Data
Temperature and Precipitation Departures from Normal

While many of you read this, NC is still experiencing a heat wave that began on the last few days of June 2012. With widespread 100+F maximum temperatures, it may be difficult to read that temperatures in June 2012 were overall much cooler than normal. Indeed, most of June was characterized by below-normal temperatures, with statewide average temperature ranked as the 29th coolest June since 1895.

While early June 2012 saw the end of drought impacts in North Carolina, the last half of the month was very dry. Overall, most of North Carolina experienced less than 75% of normal rainfall. Statewide average rainfall for June 2012 ranked as the 14th driest since 1895.

Looking back, the past 4 months have been quite comfortable for outdoor activities. March, April and May were warmer than normal while June was cooler than normal (except for the last 3 days in June). For many locations, 2012 brought a near-record number of days with maximum temperatures between 70F and 85F – a range ideal for being outdoors.

Precipitation for June 2012
Based on estimates from NWS Radar; Data courtesy NWS/NCEP
http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/precip
MPE Precipitation


Precipitation for June 2012: Percent of Normal
Based on estimates from NWS Radar; Data courtesy NWS/NCEP
http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/precip
MPE Precipitation Percent of Normal


Local Storm Reports for June 2012
Preliminary Count of LSRs courtesy National Weather Service
http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/lsrdb/index.php
LSR Summary

 

Impacts to Agriculture and Water Resources

Early June became the first time in 2 years that North Carolina was not experiencing some kind of drought. Frequent precipitation in May brought relief to areas with drought impacts, and as a result most agricultural and water resources were in good to excellent condition. Early planting of some commodities, including corn, meant that soil moisture was available for early productivity. Surface reservoirs and streams in early June were near- or above-normal for this time of the year.

However, dryness and heat later in June reminds us how quickly the climate pattern can shift. The last 2 days of June 2012 saw widespread 100F+ temperatures and many locations tie or break new temperature records. While extreme heat isn’t too unusual in North Carolina, it typically comes in July or August and only lasts a few days. The heat in June was unusual because it was early and appears to be lasting for many days. Many locations set new records for the longevity of such high heat, including several days with temperatures above 100F. It also surprised many because it started just a few days after a weak cold front brought morning temperatures in the upper 50s.


US Drought Monitor for North Carolina
Courtesy NC DENR Division of Water Resources

Drought Monitor

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