Another Hot July: July 2012 Summary

Dr. David A. Robinson
New Jersey State Climatologist
Center for Environmental Prediction, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences/NJAES, Rutgers University
August 5, 2012

July 2012 was a hot one in New Jersey. With an average temperature of 78.0° (+3.0°) it was the 5th warmest since statewide observations commenced in 1895. Remarkably, it was the "coolest" of the past three Julys, as 2011 ranked 2nd and 2010 came in 3rd (Table 1). Seven of the ten warmest Julys of the past 118 years have occurred since 1993. Continuing warmth throughout the year has made the first seven months of 2012 the warmest such period on record (Table 2). Eight of the ten warmest first seven months of the year have been since 1990. With all but one or two reports in for June, it looks as if that month will average exactly the same as the 1981-2010 average temperature. This ends the streak of sixteen consecutive above-average months, however it can still be said that NJ has gone eighteen consecutive months (and 26 of the past 29) without a below-average monthly reading.

Rank Year July Avg. Temp.
1 1955 79.0°
2 2011 78.8°
3 2010 78.7°
4 1999 78.4°
5 2012 78.0°
6 1949 77.8°
7 2006 77.3°
8 1994 77.1°
9 1901 77.0°
10 1993 76.9°

Table 1. The ten warmest Julys across NJ since 1895.

Rank Year Jan-Jul Avg. Temp.
1 2012 55.7°
2 1998 54.7°
3 2010 54.5°
4 2002 54.4°
5 1949 54.2°
6 1991 54.0°
6 2006 54.0°
8 1921 53.7°
9 1990 53.4°
9 2008 53.4°

Table 2. The ten warmest January - July intervals across New Jersey since 1895.

The heat was on for most of the month. On 22 days, at least one of the 54 NJ stations in the NJ Mesonet or NJ SafetyNet reached 90° for a maximum temperature. Half of these days saw one or more stations top out at 95° or higher, with the century mark being reached on two days. The 1st saw Mansfield (Burlington County), Red Lion (Burlington), and Hillsborough (Somerset) reach 97°. Four stations got to 95° on Independence Day. 24 stations were at least 95° on the 5th, with Mansfield at 98°. Mansfield and Cherry Hill (Camden) again got to 98° on the 6th. The 7th was the second hottest day of July with Mansfield up to 102°, four stations at 101°, and five at 100°. Cooler conditions prevailed at High Point Monument (Sussex), which only got to 82°. The heat wave that began on June 28th ended on the 8th, when Hawthorne (Passaic) reached 95°. The eleven consecutive days of 90° plus heat at New Brunswick ties with three other episodes as the second longest such run since records commenced in 1893. Only a twelve-day run from July 23rd to August 3rd, 1999, was longer.

The 17th and 18th were two very hot days. Jersey City (Hudson), Hillsborough, and Egg Harbor (Atlantic) reached 99° on the 17th, with only Bivalve's (Cumberland) 86° and Harvey Cedars' (Ocean) 88° remaining below 90°. The 18th was the hottest day since July 22, 2011. Newark Airport (Essex) led the way with 104°, followed closely by 103° at Jersey City, Hawthorne, and Haworth (Bergen). 26 of the 54 Mesonet and SafetyNet stations reached the century mark, with eleven National Weather Service Cooperative stations also making it to 100° or higher. Only six stations were under 95°, with Atlantic City Marina's (Atlantic) 88° and Bivalve's 89° the "coolest". Walpack (Sussex) was the coolest station on the morning of the 18th at 67° but got up to 100° that afternoon.

Rounding out the 95° or hotter days, the 24th brought a 97° maximum to Red Lion and Egg Harbor, with Sicklerville (Camden), Red Lion, and Greenwich (Cumberland) up to 95° on the 26th.

On seven July mornings one or more locations across NJ fell to 55° or cooler. On the first four occasions it was the northwest valley pair of Walpack and Pequest (Warren) that were the coolest with 51° and 54°, respectively, on the 2nd, 51° and 53° on the 3rd, 49° and 51° on the 6th, and 49° and 52° on the 10th. Walpack sat alone at 54° on the 12th. Statewide, the 22nd was the coolest morning of July with twenty stations in the 50°s. Berkeley Township (Ocean) at 54° and Howell (Monmouth) with 55° were coolest. Of the one remaining 55° or cooler morning, Walpack fell to 51° on the 25th.

There were several very warm nights during the month. West Cape May (Cape May) and Dennis Township (Cape May) both got no lower than 80° on the 4th and 5th. The 18th brought an 81° minimum to Dennis Township, 80° to Egg Harbor, with only Walpack's 67° and Pequest's 68° coming in below 70°. Only on the 21st and 22nd did every network station in the state fall below 70°.

As often seen in summer months, precipitation across New Jersey varied widely in July 2012. On average, 3.71" fell, which is 0.81" below the 1981-2010 average. This ranks as the 38th driest since 1895. Rainfall totaled 8.14" at a Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network station in Brick Township (Ocean) to take top honors in NJ. However another station in Brick totaled only 4.03" for the month. Other hefty totals included 7.32" at Andover (Sussex), 6.35" in Blairstown (Warren), and 6.06" at Allamuchy (Warren). On the dry end, only 0.97" fell in Winslow Township (Camden), followed by 1.18" in Estell Manor (Atlantic), 1.66" at Stratford (Camden), and 1.71" in Elk Township (Gloucester). Clearly, it was the southwest portion of NJ that was driest during July, with this negatively impacting unirrigated corn and soybean fields in this sandy soil region.

Given the dry start to 2012 and the absence of a very wet month thus far, the year through July ranks as the 13th driest on record. This is 5.63" or 21% below average, and is the driest such interval since 1995.

Rank Year Jan.-Jul. Prcp
1 1955 17.55"
2 1957 17.72"
3 1954 17.84"
4 1963 18.12"
4 1965 18.12"
6 1966 19.13"
7 1995 19.97"
8 1985 20.55"
9 1930 20.84"
10 1977 20.90"
11 1927 21.28"
12 1926 21.44"
13 2012 21.54"
14 1992 21.71"
15 1905 22.18"
16 2002 22.22"
17 1904 22.34"
17 1976 22.34"
19 1923 22.48"
20 1970 22.83"

Table 3. The twenty driest January-July intervals across New Jersey since 1895.

There were numerous days throughout July with thunderstorms scattered throughout NJ. Despite this, it wasn't until the 15th that a widespread rainfall was observed. The 1st saw thunderstorms in some northern and coastal locations. Rainfall totaled 0.57" in Stafford Township (Ocean) and 0.37" at Charlotteburg (Passaic). Hail up to an inch in diameter was observed in Blairstown, Oakland (Bergen), and Ocean City (Cape May). Late on the 4th into the 5th thunderstorms brought 0.92" to Washington Township (Mercer) and 0.94" to Cream Ridge (Monmouth). Strong winds brought down trees in portions of Ocean and Monmouth counties. The first week of the month saw residences and businesses across the southern third of the state continue to have power restored following the massive derecho wind storm of late June 29th and early on the 30th. Dry conditions in Burlington County resulted in a 220 acre brush fire in Waterford Township on the 5th.

Evening storms in Monmouth and Ocean counties on the 7th brought 0.54" to Toms River (Ocean) and 0.65" to Lavallette (Ocean). Trees blew down, with gusts reported up to 78 mph at Brick, 60 mph at Beachwood, and 47 mph at Point Pleasant Beach, all in Ocean County. Tragically, a woman was struck by lightning while standing on the sea wall in Monmouth Beach (Monmouth) and later died. Storms that day also toppled trees in portions of Hunterdon and Somerset counties, and a 46 mph gust was observed at High Point Monument (Sussex).

The morning of the 9th saw Cape May County receive as much as 0.74" in Woodbine and 0.70" at Cape May Court House. Portions of Warren County and the counties bordering New York state received up to 0.74" at White Township (Warren) and 0.66" in Ringwood (Passaic) overnight from the 11th into the 12th. Afternoon storms brought 0.49" to Sicklerville (Camden) and 0.32" to both Merchantville (Camden) and Ewing Township (Mercer) on the 14th. The first widespread rain of July gave central and far northwest areas about an inch and most other locations 0.25"-0.50" (with little in the extreme south) on the evening of the 15th. 1.63" fell at High Point Monument, with 1.39" at both Lake Como (Monmouth) and Jackson Township (Ocean). A 61 mph gust toppled trees in Brick (Ocean), with reports of damage also in Middlesex and Burlington counties.

The heat of the 18th was broken in the late afternoon into the evening with strong storms across many areas. Isolated pockets of heavy rain were found in northern Warren and southern Sussex counties with 2.47" at Pequest and 2.16" and 2.18" at stations in Liberty Township, all in Warren County. Mansfield (Burlington) received 1.71". Scattered 0.50"-1.00" totals were seen in central and northern areas with considerably less in the south. These storms brought a 60 mph gust to Perth Amboy (Middlesex) and 46 mph gust at Sea Girt (Monmouth), with trees down and power out in sections of seven counties. Hail from 0.25" to almost an inch in diameter fell in parts of Burlington, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties.

An isolated late afternoon storm skimmed Bivalve (Cumberland) along Delaware Bay on the 19th, depositing 0.75". Morning storms brought heavy rain to Cape May County on the 20th with 3.00" in Upper Township and 2.98"at Woodbine. Further up the coast, 3.74" swamped West Creek (Ocean) and Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic) received 2.88".

Northern Warren and southern Sussex counties were again deluged on the 23rd. Walpack (Sussex) received 3.54" and a 45 mph wind gust, Blairstown (Warren) 1.95", and Andover (Sussex) 1.92". Up to 1.00"-1.50" fell in parts of Morris and Somerset counties, with half inch hail falling in a few locations. Trees were down and power out in some areas. The 24th saw storms visit the dry southwest. Franklin and Elk townships in Gloucester County welcomed 1.64" and 0.91", respectively, and a gust to 48 mph was observed at Bivalve (Cumberland). Late on the 26th into the 27th strong storms downed trees in eight northern and central counties. One tree fell onto a home in Rockaway (Morris), injuring several individuals. High Point Monument had a gust of 53 mph. Rain was widespread, with around an inch in the southwest over to southern Ocean County. Elsewhere, 0.25"-0.50" totals were common, although none fell in Cape May County. 1.30" was measured at Pitman and 1.24" in Pittsgrove, both in Gloucester County.

The afternoon and evening hours of the 28th saw scattered storms quickly produce copious road flooding rain in parts of northern and central NJ. A supercell storm brought severe damage to Freehold (Monmouth). The cell headed east out of Mercer County during the evening, depositing 3.33" and 2.88" at Lawrence Township stations and damaging crops. Tree and structural damage was widespread in Freehold, with resulting power outages to go along with road flooding. Rain totaled 3.27" in Millstone (Monmouth), hail up to an inch in diameter was reported in Mercer and Monmouth counties, and a gust of 63 mph was observed at Trenton-Mercer County Airport. Other storms during the PM hours brought a 68 mph gust to Atlantic City Airport in Pomona (Atlantic), with tree damage in the area. An afternoon storm up north moved east along the general Interstate 80 corridor, bringing more than an inch to some locations, including 2.30" at Haworth (Bergen). An isolated early afternoon storm brought 5.33" to a small section of Brick Township, while two other stations in that township no more than a few miles away caught only 1.34" and 0.79".

The last storms of July brought 2.48" to Woodbine and 1.37" at Sea Isle City, both in Cape May County. A few tenths of an inch to as much as 0.50" fell in the northern half of the state.

The highest barometric pressures of the month were observed on the 13th and 14th and ranged from 30.20"-30.25". Pressures were as low as 29.55"-29.60" on the 24th.

For those seeking more detailed information on hourly, daily and monthly conditions, please visit the following Office of the NJ State Climatologist's websites:

NJ Weather and Climate Network
NJ Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network
NJ Snow Event Reports

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