July was the Earth’s hottest month on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Colorado, especially the Western Slope, contributed to the worldwide swelter.
The global temperature for July 2021 was the highest month in the 142-year history of such record keeping, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“The July 2021 global surface temperature was 1.67°F (0.93°C) above the 20th-century average of 60.4°F (15.8°C) — the highest for July in the 142-year record,” NOAA said Friday in a news release.
In Colorado, the state had a value temperature of 69.9°F in July, only ten years have been hotter over the 127-year history of state weather data. The 69.9°F was a 2.8°F anomaly for July in Colorado, the mean temperature for Colorado in July between 1901 and 2000 was 67.1°F.
“It was very warm in July for the state,” said Gregory Hanson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder. “Most of the warmth was on the Western Slope where we have prolonged drought.”
On July 9 Grand Junction had an all-time high temperature of 107 degrees.
“Temperatures ranked in the top 33rd percentile for the majority of the state in July,” according to the Colorado Climate Center, Atmospheric Science Colorado State University. “Some below normal temperatures were observed in eastern Colorado. West of the Continental Divide, temperatures were extremely warm, ranking in the top 10% of all years. Some areas in northern Colorado experienced a record warm July.”
Colorado’s heat is being set up, in part, by an upper-level ridge that has been set up over the Western United States for weeks. Cool air that typically filters into Colorado out of the northwest isn’t happening this summer, as the Northwest continues to struggle with record-breaking, deadly heat.
In the contiguous United States, much of the West and Northern Plains had above-average temperatures during the month, with several states having their warmest July on record, according to NOAA. Overall this was the 13th warmest July (tied with 1954 and 2002) on record for the nation.
In Denver, the high temperature hit 102 degrees on July 8 and 100 degrees on July 28. July’s heat in the city included a nine-day run, July 16th through July 24, of high temps over 90 degrees and another run, six-days of high temps over 90, from July 25 through July 30. Had it not been for an 89 degree reading in Denver on July 24, those two sweltering strings would have joined.
August is shaping up to be another hot month in Colorado, Hanson said.
“We are off to a hot start,” Hanson said. “Our official outlook calls for still warm conditions through August. There are no signs that the ridge will break down, overall, the ridge will continue to reestablish itself and keep us on the warm side, through the end of the month.”
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