July warmer than average, year to date 3rd warmest for Lower 48

Record heat hits parts of South, East and Alaska
August 8, 2016
New Mexico set a new record for the warmest July in 2016 that also tied as the state’s warmest month ever on record. Here a woman braves the desert sun and heat while hiking the dunes at White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico.

July’s reputation for sizzle didn’t disappoint, bringing record warm temperatures to Florida and New Mexico and much above-average temperatures across the South, the East Coast and Alaska.

The average July temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 75.3 degrees F, making it the 14th  warmest July on record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. July precipitation averaged 2.87 inches (0.40 inch above average).

From January through July, the average temperature for the Lower 48 states ranked as the third warmest on record at 54.3 degrees F, 3.0 degrees above average. Thirty-eight states were much warmer than average.

IMAGE-July 2016 Sig Events Map-80516-NOAA-800x400-Landscape
Map image of notable climate events in July 2016

Other notable climate events for July included:

  • Alaska: Alaska had its 4th warmest July and set a new record for the warmest year to date, with an average statewide temperature of 33.9 degrees F, 8.1 degrees above average.

  • New Mexico: New Mexico set a new heat record with an average temperature of 76.8 degrees F, 4.1 degrees above average. This also tied July 2003 as the warmest month of any month on record.  

  • Florida: Florida was record warm for the month, reaching an average temperature of 84.0 degree F, 3.0 degrees above average. This was the second warmest month of any month on record.

  • Kentucky: Parts of western Kentucky received record rainfall totalling more than 16 inches and causing widespread flooding.

  • Hawaii: On July 24, Tropical Storm Darby made landfall on Hawaii’s Big Island with sustained winds of 40 mph and heavy rains in excess of 10 inches.

  • U.S. drought: By month’s end, 21.1 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, up about 4.9 percent since end of June.

More: Find NOAA’s reports and download images by visiting the NCEI website.