Too Darn Hot – A July 2011 Overview

One of the drawbacks to being in the landscape and lawn care industry is that we are constantly caring for living, breathing things.  This is a good thing for us, since we are never without something to do during the growing season.  But it also requires us to have a great deal of knowledge on a wide range of subjects, from the proper feeding and watering requirements of grass and trees to keeping insects and diseases at bay.  Fortunately, we are not alone in these endeavors – we have many reliable and knowledgeable partners to help us find answers when needed.

heat-exhaustion-2-191x300[1]One of our partners is the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, which is also the home of the Office of the NJ State Climatologist.  In the most recent edition of their Plant and Pest Advisory publication, David A Robinson, the NJ State Climatologist, wrote a wonderful article regarding our July 2011 heat.  I thought it was a subject you might like to know more about, so here are some excerpts:

Yet Another Hot Month:  July 2011 Overview

“The first two days of July were quite sunny, with seasonably warm daytime and comfortable nighttime temperatures and low humidity levels.  There were other such ‘top ten’ days in the month too, for instance the 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th and 27th.  Most other days were, shall we say, more ‘challenging’, with bouts of extreme heat, an extended period of dry weather, and some occasions with drenching, dangerous thunderstorms.  When all was said and done, New Jersey experienced its second warmest July (any month for that matter) on record (back to 1895).  The average temperature statewide was 78.8 degrees, which is 3.8 degrees above the 1981-2010 normal.  This is only 0.2 degrees away from the record warm July of 1955 and surpasses 2010, which falls to 3rd place.

Notice that six of the ten warmest Julys of the past 117 years have occurred in the past eighteen years.

Continuing on with some additional impressive numbers, when averaged together, June and July 2011 rank second in warmth, only ranking behind the same period last year.  The same can be said of the April-July and May-July averages.  Ten of the past seventeen months have ranked in the top ten for warmth, with only December 2010 and January 2011 having below-average temperatures during this period.  Notice that 1981-2010 normals are being used for the first time.  The new July normal temperature is 0.5 degrees warmer than the previous normal, testament to the warm Julys in the past decade, warmer than those in the 1970’s.”

The article goes on to talk about rainfall totals in the state for the month of July, which averaged below normal, despite the fact that some counties received more than 8 inches while others received less than 2.  It also addressed maximum temperatures throughout the state, and storms for the month.  Below is a table of the maximum temperatures for all 21 New Jersey counties on the afternoon of July 22, 2011.

Ed and I were fortunate enough to have missed the entire July heat wave while enjoying a trip to Alaska.  While the rest of the country was experiencing gripping and oppressive heat, we had delightfully cool temperatures of 50’s and 60’s in the daytime and upper 40’s at night.  With limited internet access during our travels, we weren’t even aware of the heat wave until it was almost over, and miraculously, the extreme heat broke the night we arrived home.  In addition, we were told wherever we traveled in Alaska that we were experiencing the best weather they had had in months – a bit of divine intervention, if I might say so myself.  Although I should add that our family and friends here at home, after melting all the time we were gone, didn’t really care to hear about our stunning weather, and honestly, I can’t say that I blame them.

If you are interested in more detailed information about New Jersey weather conditions, please check out the following websites:

Office of the NJ State Climatologist

NJ Weather and Climate Network

NJ Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network