Extreme Temperature Diary- Tuesday August 8th, 2023/Main Topic: U.S. July Record Scoreboard and Climatological Review

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: U.S. July Record Scoreboard and Climatological Review

Dear Diary. It’s time once again for our monthly climatological review. Here on this site, we usually present monthly summaries near the 8th of each month, and each is available by clicking the link below:


I’m repeating this mantra every month:

July 2023 using 1901-2000 mean data got ranked by the National Center for Environmental Information for the lower 48 states as 11th warmest, or 119th coolest since records began being kept in 1895:


Overall, during July we saw a heat dome develop from the Southwest, which spread eastward through the Gulf coastal states that produced what I dubbed historic Heatwave Chevron. The jet sent cooler than average air masses into the Midwest during the month. Statistically as a whole, the U.S. saw a well above average month. As depicted below, four states had their hottest Julys on record:

Most record warmth occurred across the southern tier of states while most record chill occurred from the Pacific Northwest eastward into the Midwest during the entire month.

Here are my two U.S. Daily Record Scoreboards updated through 7/2/2023 (data compiled from the following NCEI site):


I’m also keeping tabs on record report totals to verify a scientific study I helped to complete in the decade of the 2000s. We’ll eventually see how skewed ratios of record warm to cold reports get be by the year 2100, which the study mentions as 50-1 for DHMX vs. DLMN:

Relative increase of record high maximum temperatures compared to record low minimum temperatures in the U.S. – Meehl – 2009 – Geophysical Research Letters – Wiley Online Library

DHMX= Daily High Max Reports. DLMN= Daily Low Min Reports. DHMN= Daily High Min Reports. DLMX=Daily Low Max Reports.

Totals are record reports for the entire United States including all territories minus those from Alaska. I’ve subtracted those from Alaska to get a better representation of what has occurred across the lower 48 states in association with lower 48 state rankings.

Bold red, blue, or purple colored months, such as January 2020 and June 2021, that have ratios of >10 to 1 daily warm low records or <1 to 10 daily warm to low records are either historically hot or cold, most of which have made news. NCEI rankings are for the lower 48 states with the warmest ranking since 1895 of average temperatures being 128 (for ties) or 129 and 1 being the coldest as of 2023. Blue colors represent cold months and red warm. Those months and years with counts close to a 1 to 1 ratio of highs to lows are colored black. All-time record hottest or coldest months and years are boldly colored in purple. NCDC rankings have been color coded (under tabs in each file) such that values of 54 to 74 are black representing neutral months or years (+ or – 10 from the average ranking of 64).

Record numbers statistically matched up well during July of 2023 with that month being the 19th warmest July on record, which was well above average.

July 2023 had approximately a 32 to 5 ratio of record DHMX to DLMN individual record counts, so the color I used for this month was black on the top chart.

July 2023 had approximately a 21 to 3 ratio of record DHMN to DLMX individual record counts, so the color I used for this month was red on the bottom chart.

Due to climate change, we are seeing fewer blue colors on these Record Scoreboards with time.

As stated, the average temperature lower 48 state ranking for July 2023 was 119 which was colored red since it was above average.

I color rankings of +10 to -10 from the average ranking for the lower 48 states of 64.5 black, indicating that these are near average temperature wise. The top warmest ranking for 2023 would be 129 since rankings began in 1895.

We are seeing that August 2023 has gotten off to a hot start across the southern tier of states, but the Midwest continues to be chilly. Anomalous heat should build into the central states through mid-August looking at meteorological models. Will summer turn out to be wickedly hot? Probably across the southern tier of states but maybe not as bad as it will be in 2024 and 2025 looking at El Niño trends:

Extreme Temperature Diary- Tuesday April 25th, 2023/Main Topic: The U.S. Is Chillier Than Average…This Happened Twice Before the Last Two Strong El Niño’s – Guy On Climate

Here is much more detailed climatology for July 2023 as complied by NOAA:

Assessing the U.S. Climate in July 2023 | News | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) (noaa.gov)

Assessing the U.S. Climate in July 2023

Record-breaking heat waves hit the Southwest during July; 15 billion-dollar disasters occurred during the first seven months of 2023

Key Points:

  • Heat waves impacted much of the U.S. in July and brought record temperatures to parts of the Southwest. The region as a whole tied with 2003 as the warmest July on record.
  • Much of the eastern U.S. has been consistently warmer than average during 2023 with 28 states experiencing a top-10 warmest January–July including Florida, which ranked warmest on record.
  • A total of 15 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters have been confirmed this year—the most events since 1980 for the January-July period. These consisted of 13 severe storm events, one winter storm and one flooding event.
  • This July was the 11th warmest on record for the nation, while precipitation ranked in the middle third of the historical record.

Other Highlights:


July overnight temperatures were warmest on record across the New England region. The average temperature of the contiguous U.S. in July was 75.7°F, 2.1°F above average, ranking 11th warmest in the 129-year record. Generally, July temperatures were below average in the central and northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Temperatures were above average from the West Coast to the southern Plains and along the Gulf and East coasts and in parts of the Great Lakes. Arizona, New Mexico, Maine and Florida ranked warmest on record for July while Louisiana ranked second warmest on record. An additional 13 states ranked among their top-10 warmest July on record.

The Alaska statewide July temperature was 56.1°F, 3.4°F above the long-term average, ranking fifth warmest in the 99-year period of record for the state. Above-normal temperatures were observed across most of the state while pockets of near-average temperatures were observed in south central and southwestern portions of the state.

For the January–July period, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 53.0°F, 1.7°F above average, ranking 16th warmest on record for this period. Temperatures were above average from the southern Plains to the East Coast and along parts of the Northern Tier, with near- to below-average temperatures from the northern Plains to the West Coast. Florida ranked warmest on record while Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi and Louisiana each ranked second warmest for the January–July period. An additional 20 states had a top-10 warmest year-to-date period. No state experienced a top-10 coldest event for this seven-month period. 

The Alaska January–July temperature was 27.6°F, 1.8°F above the long-term average, ranking in the warmest third of the historical record for the state. Much of the state was above normal for the seven-month period while temperatures were near average across much of the Interior and West Coast.


July precipitation for the contiguous U.S. was 2.70 inches, 0.08 inch below average, ranking in the middle third of the historical record. Precipitation was below average across much of the West and in parts of the northern and southern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley and Southeast. Precipitation was above average across much of the Northeast, the Great Lakes and in central parts of the Plains and Mississippi Valley. Idaho, Arizona and Minnesota each had their third-driest July on record, while two additional states had a top-10 driest July on record. Conversely, Vermont and Connecticut ranked second wettest for the month with seven additional states ranking among their top-10 wettest July on record.

Across the state of Alaska, the average monthly precipitation was 3.51 inches, ranking in the middle third of the historical record. Conditions were wetter than average across most of the state while parts of the North Slope were near normal during the month. Below-normal precipitation was observed in parts of the Southeast Interior and Panhandle while parts of the Northeast Gulf had their driest July on record.

The January–July precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 18.41 inches, 0.32 inch above average, ranking in the middle third of the 129-year record. Precipitation was near to above average from California to the western Great Plains, Northeast, and in parts of the southern Mississippi Valley, northern Great Lakes and Southeast. New Hampshire had its fifth wettest year-to-date period on record while two additional states ranked among their top-10 wettest for this period. Conversely, precipitation was below average across parts of the Northwest, eastern Plains, Southwest, central Mississippi Valley, Mid-Atlantic and along parts of the Gulf during the January–July period. Maryland had its 10th-driest January–July on record.

The January–July precipitation ranked 15th wettest in the 99-year record for Alaska, with above-average precipitation observed across much of the state. Near-normal precipitation was observed in parts of south-central Alaska, Southeast and in parts of the Aleutians during this period.

Billion-Dollar Disasters

Three new billion-dollar weather and climate disasters were confirmed this month, two of which occurred during the month of June and one during April. All of these disasters were severe storm events.

There have been 15 confirmed weather and climate disaster events, each with losses exceeding $1 billion this year. These disasters consisted of 13 severe storm events, one winter storm and one flooding event. For this year-to-date period, the first seven months of 2023 rank highest for disaster count, ahead of 2017 with 14 disasters. The total cost of these events exceeds $39.7 billion, and they have resulted in 113 direct and indirect fatalities.

The U.S. has sustained 363 separate weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2023). The total cost of these 363 events exceeds $2.590 trillion.

Other Notable Events

A series of heat waves brought record-breaking temperatures to portions of the U.S. during July:

  • July was the warmest month on record for Arizona and New Mexico by nearly 2°F. 
  • Across the Southwest, 36 counties each had their warmest July on record while an additional 63 counties ranked in the top-10 warmest for the month.
  • Phoenix, Arizona had an average temperature of 102.8°F for the month of July—the hottest month on record for any U.S. city. Contributing to the record, Phoenix had 31 consecutive days of temperatures above 110°F from June 30 to July 30—breaking the previous record of 18 days set in 1974.
  • On July 16, Death Valley soared to 128°F, setting a daily-temperature record, and reported its hottest midnight temperature on record at 120°F on July 17.

Several notable weather systems produced severe storms that impacted portions of the U.S. in July:

  • On July 10, severe storms brought devastation and flooding to portions of the Northeast, as areas reported up to eight inches of rain within a 24-hour period. Montpelier, Vermont received a record-breaking 5.28 inches of rain, flooding the city and damaging thousands of homes and businesses.
  • On July 18-19, a historic flash flood occurred over portions of Kentucky and Illinois after areas received rainfall totals up to 12 inches, causing significant damage and trapping residents in their homes. Mayfield, Kentucky received 11.28 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, likely breaking the state record for 24-hour rainfall. 
  • On July 24-25, an extreme thunderstorm outbreak produced more than 19,000 lightning strikes causing dozens of new wildfires in the state of Alaska. Overall, 2023 ranks as the second-lowest fire season, by acres burned, in the past 30 years for the state.


According to the August 1 U.S. Drought Monitor report, about 28.1% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, up about 1.2% from the beginning of July. Moderate to exceptional drought was widespread across much of the Great Plains, with moderate to extreme drought in much of the Midwest and Florida Peninsula. Moderate to severe drought was present in parts of the Northwest, Southwest, southern Mississippi Valley, Mid-Atlantic, Michigan and Puerto Rico as well as moderate drought in parts of the Northeast and Alaska.

Drought conditions expanded or intensified along the Northern Tier, Upper Midwest, Southwest, southern Plains, Alaska and Puerto Rico during July. Drought contracted or was reduced in intensity across portions of the central Plains, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, Northeast and in parts of the Great Basin.

Monthly Outlook

According to the July 31 One-Month Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center, much of the southern contiguous U.S., Pacific Northwest and Alaska favor above-normal monthly average temperatures in August, with the greatest odds along the Gulf Coast. The best chances for below-normal temperatures are forecast for the northern parts of the Rockies and Plains and in the Northeast. Much of the northern Rockies to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are favored to see above-normal monthly total precipitation whilebelow-normal precipitation is most likely to occur from eastern Arizona to the Florida Panhandle, as well as southwestern and southeastern Alaska.Drought improvement or removal is forecast from the central Plains to parts of the Great Lakes and in parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Florida and Puerto Rico, while persistence is more likely in portions of the Northwest, Southwest, southern Plains, northern Great Lakes and parts of the northern Plains and Hawaii. Drought development is likely in parts of the Northwest, Southwest, southern Plains and Hawaii.

According to the One-Month Outlook issued on August 1 from the National Interagency Fire Center, Hawaii and portions of the Northwest, Upper Midwest, Southwest, southern Plains, Lower Mississippi Valley, Southeast and eastern Alaska have above-normal significant wildland fire potential during August, while parts of California are expected to have below-normal potential for the month.

This monthly summary from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making. For more detailed climate information, check out our comprehensive July 2023 U.S. Climate Report scheduled for release on August 11, 2023. For additional information on the statistics provided here, visit the Climate at a Glance and National Maps webpages.


Here are some other “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is more brand-new July 2023 climatology:

Here is more climate and news from Tuesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Today’s News on Sustainable and Traditional Energy from Fossil Fuel:

More on the Environment:

More from the Weather Department:

More on other science and the beauty of Earth and this universe:

If you like these posts and my work on record temperature ratios, please contribute via my PayPal widget on this site. Thanks in advance for any support. 

Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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