By Meteorologist Brad Barton
Any way you look at it, July was a scorcher, but it could’ve been worse, and was, in most of the DFW metro area. Roughly half of the month, afternoon high temperatures reached or exceeded 100 degrees, including a 9-day stretch of consecutive triple-digit highs. Yet, our early morning lows nearly always dropped deep into the 70’s, giving our AC’s a chance to catch up.
Our average high for the month was 100.6, while our average low was 74.6, giving us a monthly day-night average temperature of 87, which was nearly 4 degrees hotter than normal. Our hottest temperatures, 110 degrees, were recorded July 21st and 22nd. For perspective, our heat this summer is similar to the summers of 2012, 1998 and the all-time modern heat wave record of 1980. A few summers in the mid-1950’s and 1930’s were even worse. How our forbears survived back then is a wonder.
Overnight low temperatures are usually ignored, so let’s appreciate them. Compared to Love Field, Denton’s overnight lows in the mid-70’s appear almost chilly. The “urban heat island” of Dallas generated an average overnight low no cooler than 80 degrees. All the concrete, asphalt, glass and steel in Dallas absorb so much solar energy during the day that it can’t dissipate the heat before sunrise. However developed Denton County is, our remaining grass, trees, ponds and even bare ground absorb less heat, giving us a breather early in the morning. Try to keep that little secret under your hat, otherwise all those urban dwellers will move up to Denton County, requiring more heat-absorbing roads, parking lots and buildings.
The other factor contributing to record warm overnight lows is air-conditioning, pumping heat out of our homes into the air all night long. Those warmer overnight lows in large urban areas have produced warmer day-night average temperatures across the U.S., even though average highs are very close to their historic norms. Most of the warming we see is due to overnight lows.
Rainfall was below normal, but again, it could’ve been worse. While DFW recorded only .19″, Denton Enterprise Airport registered 1.58 inches, which was .63″ drier than normal for July. Trace amounts were detected on July 1st, 2nd, 6th and the 11th. Denton had .23″ on July 7th, when severe weather was in the area. An even better rain, 1.24″ fell on July 12th. After that, heat and drought reigned until the end of the month. At this writing, (July 26) Denton was expecting 50% coverage of rain and thunderstorms July 29-30.
No official reports of storm damage from Denton County were noted by the National Weather Service, but a developing hail storm in eastern Denton County dropped baseball-sized hail from south Lewisville through Coppell and Irving into Arlington on July 7th.
As heat and drought generally lead to more heat and drought, North Texas can expect warmer and drier-than-normal weather during August. Duh.
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP820/570KLIF/99.5’The Wolf’ and Home Field Meteorologist for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club.