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June rains at record levels

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Meteorologist Brad Barton

Thanks to heavy rains at the beginning and end of the month, Denton County had its fifth wettest June on record.

The unofficial rainfall total at Denton Enterprise Airport by June 25 was 7.63″, which was over twice the June average of 3.52 inches. Denton picked up nearly 5 inches of rain in the first 5 days of June. Another good rain of 1.2″ occurred on the 9th and 1.61″ fell on the 24th.

You might think 7.63″ would be a record for June rainfall, but it’s barely in the top five. According to NWS figures maintained on DentonRainfall.com, the top four rainiest Junes are: June 1973 – 7.74″; June 1989 – 8.28″; June 1941 – 9.26″ and by far, the wettest on record, just ten years ago, June 2007 – 12.62 inches.

Other than minor street flooding, no severe weather was reported in Denton County during June.

Our hottest temperature so far this month was 99 degrees on the 23rd.  Our coolest was 64, recorded on the 8th and 9th.  Our day-night average temperature of 79.5 degrees was right in line with our historical norms.

While we’re in the temperature department, it’s a good time to talk about the #1 weather hazard in the U.S.: Excessive heat. On average, 131 people die each year from excessive heat. Compared to flooding (84), tornadoes (70), lightning (47) and hurricanes (46), no other weather-related cause of death comes even close to heat.

And it’s really true, “It’s not just the heat, it’s the humidity,” especially in North Texas. When combined with high humidity, the danger accelerates. Water vapor molecules absorb and retain heat far more efficiently than most other gases contained in the atmosphere.

Water vapor (not CO2) is the king of “greenhouse gases.” As liquid water changes into vapor, it cools. When the air is already saturated with Gulf moisture, there is little room for additional evaporation. And if evaporation can’t occur, the body’s natural cooling process, perspiration, becomes ineffective. Infants, the elderly and chronically ill are the most vulnerable, but even healthy athletes can be struck down.

A complicated formula is used by the National Weather Service to predict how temperature and humidity are likely to compromise your body’s ability to cool itself. Similar to the chill factor, this simulated “feels like” temperature is the “Heat Index.”

When the heat index is expected to exceed 105 and overnight lows are not expected to fall below 80 for two consecutive days, the NWS issues a “Heat Advisory” which is your signal to slow down, and stay close to shade, water and air conditioning, if possible. And the heat index is figured for shady conditions, not direct sun exposure, which can add another 15 degrees, so take it easy.

With the lack of El Nino signals in the Pacific, July’s forecast is little changed; slightly warmer than normal (95/74) and normal (2.4″) precipitation.

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP820/KLIF570/99.5 “The Wolf” and Texas Rangers Baseball Club. 

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About The Author

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 "The Wolf." Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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