FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pat Viets
During July 1999, several areas of the world experienced extremes in climate such as record high temperatures, severe droughts, and flooding, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today.
In the United States, record heat combined with the lack of precipitation caused drought conditions in the eastern half of the country. July started out sizzling with 95 - 100+ degrees F temperatures in northeastern cities like Philadelphia and New York. Summertime rains and thunderstorms brought some relief to drought conditions in parts of the south and east, but drought became a more severe problem by the end of July. In particular, the mid-Atlantic region is in moderate to severe drought, with crops and cattle being severely affected. Portions of six states have been declared agricultural disaster areas -- Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
The latter half of July produced a heat wave over much of the eastern two-thirds of the country, with maximum temperatures in the 90's - 100's over wide areas. Heat indices of over 110 F were common across portions of the southern and central plains and the coastal plains of the southeast. Charleston, S.C. experienced a minimum temperature of 85 F on the 29th.
In contrast to the heat wave, much cooler than normal temperatures dominated the western third of the country. Some parts of the Southwest experienced a lack of normal heat. Tucson, Arizona, set a July record for consecutive days below 100 degrees on July 29, with 23 consecutive days as of that date. The old record was 22 consecutive days, in both 1965 and 1976.
The West has experienced unusually heavy monsoon rains. Las Vegas was hit by up to three inches of rain in thunderstorms in a few hours, resulting in severe flooding and two fatalities.
Globally, drought conditions are causing problems across portions of western Russia with predicted shortfalls in grain production. In the Middle East, in Iran, the worst drought in 30 years has destroyed more than a quarter of the country's wheat and rice crops. Drought is also quite severe across portions of North Korea, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Spain this month. Flooding is a problem in parts of China along the Yangtze River, across southern Japan, and in portions of Romania.
For information on the climate of July
in Historical Perspective, see: