July - Extreme Rain, Drought, and the 90s
A large portion of the Northeast received less than 125% of normal July rainfall.
Precipitation totals varied greatly across the region, from 25% of normal to more than 200% of normal. The driest areas were in Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, western and northern New York, and central Pennsylvania. The wettest areas were in New Jersey and parts of Maryland. Precipitation at the 35 major climate sites ranged from 25% of normal in Boston, MA to 237% of normal in Atlantic City, NJ. Four sites ranked this July among their top 20 driest, while eight sites ranked it among their top 20 wettest. Due to its shorter period of record, it ranked among both at Islip, NY.
The major climate sites were nearly split, with 18 wetter-than-normal sites and 17 drier-than-normal sites.
Extreme rainfall fell in Howard and Montgomery Counties in Maryland on July 30. According to the National Weather Service, Ellicott City received 5.92 inches of rain in 2 hours, making it a 1,000-year event. Rainfall of that magnitude has a 0.1% chance of occurring in a given year. The heavy rainfall led to significant flash flooding in the city.
Table from the Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC National Weather Service showing rainfall in Ellicott City, MD on July 30.
Parts of nine Northeast states were in a drought as of late July. Click to enlarge.
Parts of the Northeast are still experiencing drought conditions. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor released on July 28, 29% of the region was in a moderate or severe drought, with another 37% of the region being abnormally dry. There have been numerous impacts from the drought including record low stream flows, water bans, reduced crop yields, and increased fire danger. For weekly updates during the drought, go to our Drought Update page.
The Northeast was warmer than normal in July.
July average temperatures ranged from near normal to more than 4°F above normal. All 35 of the major climate sites were warmer than normal, with 26 of them ranking this July among their top 20 warmest. Highs topped out in the 90s frequently during the month. Twenty-three major climate sites ranked their number of days in July with a high of at least 90°F among their top 20 greatest. In fact, Scranton, PA and Hartford, CT had their greatest number of 90°F days this July.
Average temperatures departures at the major climate sites ranged from 1.2°F above normal in Caribou, ME to 4.6°F above normal in Scranton, PA.
Twenty-eight sites saw an above-average number of 90°F days this July.