June was another remarkable month, not necessarily for severe weather but for some exceptional summer rains.
Our warmest temperatures, 97 degrees occurred on the 4th and 6th of June. Our coolest was 54 on the 11th. Our average daily high was 92; our average low, 68, which worked out to a day-night monthly average of exactly 80 degrees, which was 0.4 degrees above normal.
The main story in June was rainfall. It started off slowly with .14″ on the 4th and 5th, after which a mini-drought set in with absolutely no rainfall for nearly 2 weeks. Then a significant storm system, riding the subtropical Pacific jet stream, finally reached Texas on the 19th. Meanwhile, a blocking high pressure system in the eastern states slowed the storm system’s movement and allowed it to breathe in new life from Gulf moisture.
Unlike “northern stream” storm systems which cross the central Rockies, losing most of their moisture on the upslope, “southern stream” systems that track near the U.S./Mexico border cross much lower mountains and tend to retain more of their moisture, which is further enhanced when they get near the Gulf of Mexico. That’s how Texas gets some of its biggest rains.
Over five days from Friday, June 19th through Tuesday, the 23rd, Denton recorded 6.79 inches of rain. Total rainfall for the month was near 7 inches (6.93″). DFW Airport shattered its daily rainfall record of .84″ (1947) with 2.49 inches on June 23rd. Our running total for 2020 is nearly 32 inches of rain, roughly 8 inches above normal for this time of year.
Back in the 70’s and 80’s, average rainfall for DFW was just over 33 inches annually. That’s a good example of climate change that makes perfect sense. The addition of several new reservoirs raised our humidity levels, while 24/7 air-conditioning continually pumps heat and humidity out of our homes into the air all night long. And our lawns and landscapes are greener for it.
Although our average high temperatures are relatively unchanged, our overnight lows are noticeably warmer with higher humidity in the mornings. In raw statistics, warmer overnight lows lead to warmer day/night average temperatures, which could mislead someone to think we’re getting hotter, when we’re merely getting warmer at night, and that’s climate change we can live with.
Despite all that rain, severe storms were relatively rare. On the night of June 19th, Denton Enterprise Airport recorded a 54 knot (62 mph) wind gust, and on the 22nd, scattered wind damage to trees and fences was reported across North Texas in general. Early morning storms on June 23rd saw vivid lightning that resulted in house fires in Lantana, Flower Mound, Bartonville, Northlake and Highland Village.
Looking ahead, the Climate Prediction Center expects North Texas to be slightly warmer than normal during July with near average rainfall. We can live with that, as well.
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF and The Texas Rangers Baseball Club.