July is Over: The Horrid Heat Numbers are in

By Anthony Sagliani, Meteorologist
August 02, 2012; 9:15 PM
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Photo courtesy of Photos.com.

From New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and Phoenix, July has been a month of blistering heat and relentless drought across much of the county. Now that the month is over, what do the numbers reveal?

Preliminarily, 4,313 record high temperatures were reached across the country for the month of July, according to NOAA and the National Climatic Data Center.

Two hundred ninety-nine of these record highs were the warmest temperatures ever observed for the entire month and an incredible 171 records were the all-time highest temperatures ever observed.

Temperatures during the night were also among the highest ever observed, with a sweaty 3,545 record warmest nights over the course of the month.

According to Meteorologist and Climatologist Jim Rourke, "It was the hottest July on record in St. Louis, Denver and Indianapolis."

The record is based on an average of high and low temperatures throughout the month.

"In St. Louis, July averaged 88.0 degrees breaking the old record of 87.4 degrees set in 1901," Rourke said.

Meanwhile, temperature records set during the blistering Dust Bowl Era were broken.

"In Denver, this July averaged 78.9 degrees breaking the old record of 77.8 degrees set in 1934. Indianapolis averaged 84.0 degrees, breaking their old record of 82.8 degrees set in 1936," Rourke added.

Spotty rainfall and the associated lower temperatures during the last week or so of the month kept the cities of Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. from setting an all-time record warm July in 2012.

Records in many of these cities date back to the early 1900s or late 1800s.

The reason for this incredible heat has been the location of the jet stream, a thin river of air miles high that guides the path of potential storms.

Unusually strong high pressure developed over much of the central part of the nation, an area where crops have been withering for months.

This high pressure pushed the jet stream much farther north than usual, and there was virtually no chance of rain.

Additionally, since there was no rain and less moisture for the sun's energy to evaporate, most of the power went into heating the ground, and the result was weeks of searing heat.

The first few days of August look to be no different across the nation's Heartland.

Temperatures on Wednesday will poke above 110 degrees from Oklahoma City to Wichita, and many more records are likely to fall by the end of the week.

Stay with us here at AccuWeather.com for all the latest on the extreme heat. Keep checking back as more incredible numbers on this record hot July come in today.

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