July 2006 Warmer, Drier Than Normal
The numbers are tallied, and the final climate statistics for July of 2006 are available. The data for this year shows that July was just slightly warmer than normal and slightly drier than average. The monthly averages were fairly similar to July of last year (2005).
The month began on a warm note, with the first two 90 degree days of the year coming on the second and third of the month. This was quickly followed by a move to cooler than normal weather for the next week or so. The first "heat wave" of the summer came by mid-month, as the 15th through the 18th registered high temperatures of 90 degrees or greater, with the peak on the 15th and 16th when 92 degrees occurred on both days. Temperatures returned to near normal after this heat wave, and then sharply trended upwards by the last few days of the month. The month closed out on a very hot and humid note, with the year’s hottest temperature so far coming on July 31 with a sultry high of 93 degrees.
This made the month come out only slightly above normal. Much of the hot weather came during mid-month, a time that is historically the hottest time of year. So this only registered a few degrees above normal despite feeling so hot. The monthly average temperature came in at 76.7 degrees, above the normal of 75.4 by 1.3 degrees. This broke the streak of months with below normal temperatures, as both May and June of this year had been slightly cooler than normal. This made July of 2006 the warmest July since 2002, but it was only warmer than last July by a mere 0.3 degrees.
The month saw 8 days with high temperatures of 90 or greater, above the July normal of 7 days by one day. The longest stretch of consecutive days in the 90s was July 15-18 with 4 consecutive days. This was the longest streak of highs in the 90s since 2002, when late July and early August experienced 6 consecutive days in the 90s that year.
Rainfall in July 2006 was slightly less than average for the Indianapolis area. The monthly total of 3.98 inches was below normal by 0.44 inches.
The month’s rainfall was not distributed very evenly. Over 60% of the monthly total came in one day, July 11. Thunderstorms deposited drenching 2.49 inches of rain at Indianapolis that day, shattering the previous 24 hour record for the date, set way back in 1897.
But the rainfall came at regular enough intervals to keep temperatures from getting too hot. Farther west, areas in Illinois saw less rainfall and experienced a much hotter July than Indianapolis.
Fog was reported on 22 days in July, about 5 out of every 7 days. On two of those days, dense fog was reported. Thunder was heard on 7 days, or roughly once every 4 days.
Severe Weather Summary
As is typical, July brought a slowdown in the amount of severe weather in Central Indiana. The most significant event during the month came on July 18. Over 90 reports of hail from all across central Indiana were received at the National Weather Service office. These reports ranged in size from pea sized (1/4 of an inch diameter) all the way up to Egg or Lime Sized hail (2 inches in diameter).
Year to date
So far, 2006 has continued to be a fairly warm year, with precipitation above normal. Through the end of July, the average temperature at Indianapolis places this as the 20th warmest year to date. 2006 has so far been the warmest year since 2002, which was the 9th warmest year on record in the Indianapolis area.
Precipitation, despite a slightly drier than normal July, has remained above normal for the year to date. The yearly rain so far is 29.56. This puts this year in the top 25 wettest years through the end of July, and makes it the wettest year at this point since 2004.
The official outlook for August from the Climate Prediction Center indicates an enhanced likelihood for above normal temperatures during the month. Precipitation is less clear, with above, below, or near normal amounts of rainfall for the month being equally likely.
Data prepared by Logan Johnson, Climate Services Focal Point