July 2012 takes second place for heat; last July is right behind
CHAMPAIGN — This July and July 2011 now rank second and third for the hottest Julys in Champaign-Urbana weather history.
And July 2012 is tied for fourth place among the driest Julys locally, according to the Illinois State Water Survey.
July 2012 ended Tuesday with an unofficial average high temperature of more than 95 degrees, an average low of about 69 degrees and an overall mean temperature of about 82.5 degrees.
That makes it hotter than the previous No. 2 July — last year — when the overall average temperature in Champaign-Urbana was 81 degrees.
Only the brutally hot July 1936, with a mean temperature of 83.1 degrees, was steamier.
That month also had 13 100-degree days. This July had seven days with temperatures at or above 100 degrees.
Tuesday also was the 27th day in July with a high temperature at or above 90 degrees. The previous record for most 90-degree days in a month was July 1921 with 25 days. State climatologist Jim Angel said Tuesday's high was 98 degrees.
And rainfall for the recently ended month totaled 0.61 of an inch, tying it with July 1933. The driest Julys locally were in 1916 and 1930, both with 0.47 of an inch of rain. July 1893 had 0.59 of an inch. Normal July rainfall is 4.7 inches.
Year-to-date rainfall, according to Angel, is 14.59 inches. That ranks eighth among all the January-July periods.
The driest was in 1925 with 12.10 inches.
Normal precipitation for the first seven months of the year in Champaign-Urbana is 24.65 inches.
Much of the rest of central Illinois was equally dry in July, said Chris Geelhart, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service station in Lincoln.
"Some parts of Illinois have been able to luck out and get a little bit of rain out of it, but most haven't," said Geelhart. "Especially in the southern two-thirds of the state we've had a lot less than in some areas to the north. The drought conditions up there aren't quite as drastic as they are in southern Illinois."
Other rainfall totals for July — as of Tuesday afternoon — were: Bloomington, 1.48 inches; Peoria, 1.28 inches; Decatur, 1.08 inches; Springfield, 0.34 of an inch; Charleston, 0.08 of an inch; and Paris, 0.02 of an inch.
The totals for Paris and Charleston are new records, Geelhart said.
And the 30-day outlook calls for continued warmer and drier than normal conditions, Geelhart said.
"We've just had a large area of high pressure sitting over the middle part of the country," he said, "and oftentimes storm systems will pick up moisture from the lower levels of the atmosphere as they are developing. But since it's been dry around here, we haven't the amount of moisture available for the storms to feed off of when they finally do develop."
2012 Champaign-Urbana precipitation (in inches)
Source: Illinois State Water Survey