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July 2012 climate report for Tucson Arizona
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July 2012 climate report for Tucson

Headlines
15th wettest and 38th coolest July on record
Average July high temperature 19th coldest on record
 

Tucsonans enjoyed a pretty active and wet July along with cooler than normal temperatures. The month started off warm with highs between 100° and 105° and there were isolated thunderstorms across the area. On the 4th, Mother Nature brought her own fireworks to the area as a weather system moved across the area and combined with monsoonal moisture to produce widespread showers and thunderstorms. Some of the thunderstorms produced very heavy rain with isolated areas, like in Oro Valley, recording over 3 inches of rain in about one hour. Since the storms hit the area in the afternoon, the many 4th of July firework shows went off without delay. The high temperature of 86° at the airport on the 4th broke the daily record low maximum temperature of 90° which first occurred in 1912 and was later tied in 1962. The airport also set a daily rainfall record on the 4th when 0.78" was recorded. This broke the record of 0.70" which occurred in 1921.

 

Over the next week, temperatures warmed back into the triple digits, peaking with a high of 105° on the 9th and 10th. Isolated showers and thunderstorms returned to the area on the 8th and continued through the 13th.

 

The most active/wet period of the month occurred from the 14th to the 16th with severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding impacting the area on the 15th and 16th. For this three day period, the airport recorded 2.50", which ranks as the 12th wettest 3 day period in July for the official recording station in Tucson. All three days individually recorded over a half an inch of rain at the airport, which sets a new July consecutive day record for the official recording site in Tucson. The old record was 2 days, last occurring in 1972 (July 15-16).

 

The remainder of the month was cooler than normal with the airport hitting triple digits only twice, on the 18th and the 27th. Severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding hit portions of the area on 21st, 28th and 29th.

 

Temperature extremes for the month ranged from a high of 105° on the 1st, 9th and 10th to a low of 68 degrees on the 4th. Interesting to note that for the first time since 2004 and the second time since 1984, the airport did not record a high warmer than 105°. Going back to 1895 this is the 21st such occurrence for July. The monthly average temperature of 85.7° is 1.3° below normal and ranks as the 38th coolest July on record (tied with 1922 and 1935). Only ten triple digit highs were recorded in July, which is 8 days below normal. It is the least amount since 2001 when 9 days were recorded with the all-time record low being 5 days from 1999.

 
July 2012 daily high temperature departure from normal July 2012 daily low temperature departure from normal
Click on image above for larger view
 

As is normally the case during the summer thunderstorm season, rainfall amounts varied widely across the metro area. Using several sources like rainlog.org, CoCoRaHS, and the Pima County Regional Flood Control District gages, rainfall amounts for the month ranged from a 1.5" to 8" with the majority of the area recording between 2.5" and 5.5". The International airport, which is the official recording location for Tucson, recorded 4.13" which is 1.88" above normal and ranks as the 15th wettest July on record. The wettest July on record is 6.24" from 1921. One last interesting rainfall item for July. The airport recorded 5 days with a rainfall total of a half an inch or greater. This is one day shy of the July record of 6 days, which first occurred in 1921 and was later tied in 1981. Those years are the two wettest July's on record (6.24" in 1921 and 6.17" in 1981).

 
July 2012 stats
Month
Normal
Departure
Average high temperature
97.3°
99.7°
- 2.4°
Average low temperature
74.2°
74.4°
- 0.2°
Average temperature
85.7°
87.0°
-1.3°
Number of 100° + highs
10
18
- 8
Rainfall
4.13"
2.25"
+ 1.88"

Summer 2012

Two-thirds of Summer 2012 are in the record books with the average temperature of 86.8° being eight-tenths of a degree above normal and ranking as the 13th warmest summer to date. The average high temperature of 100.3° ranks as the 35th warmest on record (the record is 105.4° from 1994). The average low temperature of 73.2° ranks as the 9th warmest on record (tied with 2003 and 2009). Rainfall across the metro area for summer 2012 varied widely and ranged from 2.5" to 8". Officially at the airport 4.47" has been recorded which ranks as the 13th wettest summer and monsoon to date. Last year, the airport recorded only 1.67" which ranked as the 39th driest summer and 40th driest monsoon to date on record.

 
2012 summer stats thru July
Summer
Normal
Departure
Average high temperature
100.3°
100.1°
+ 0.2°
Average low temperature
73.2°
72.0°
+ 1.2°
Average temperature
86.8°
86.0°
+ 0.8°
Number of 100°+ highs
38
37
+ 1
Number of 105°+ highs
14
17
- 3
Rainfall
4.47"
2.45"
+ 2.02"

2012

The first seven months of 2012 goes into the record books as the 8th warmest on record with an average temperature to date of 70.6° which is 1.5° above normal. The average high temperature of 85.5° ranks as the 8th warmest on record (tied with 2002), but well behind the record of 87.7° from 1989. The average low temperature of 55.8° ranks as the 9th warmest on record (tied with 2000). Rainfall across the metro area for 2012 varied widely and ranged from 3" to 9". Officially at the airport 5.15" has been recorded which ranks as the 57th wettest January thru July period on record. This is in stark contrast to 2011 when the airport recorded only 2.22" which ranked as the 4th driest January thru July period on record.

 
2012 stats thru July
Year
Normal
Departure
Average high temperature
85.5°
83.3°
+ 2.2°
Average low temperature
55.8°
54.8°
+ 1.0°
Average temperature
70.6°
69.1°
+ 1.5°
Number of 100°+ highs
47
41
+ 6
Number of 105°+ highs
16
18
- 2
Rainfall
5.15"
5.52"
- 0.37"
2011-12 Water Year rainfall (Oct-Jul)
8.21"
7.91"
+ 0.30"

Looking ahead into August
The Climate Prediction Center forecasts slightly enhanced probabilities for above normal rainfall and equal chances for above normal, normal or below normal temperatures.
  Daily normals | Daily records
Normal high temperature 97.4°
Normal low temperature 73.3°
Normal monthly temperature 85.3°
Record high temperature 112° on August 1, 1993
Record low temperature 55° on August 20, 1917
Warmest August (avg) 90.3° in 1994
Coldest August (avg) 80.8° in 1923
Normal rainfall 2.39"
Wettest August day 2.88" on August 1, 1935
Wettest August 7.93" in 1955
Driest August 0.08" in 1924
   
The number of daylight hours will decrease from 13 hours 41 minutes on the 1st to 12 hours 49 minutes on the 31st, a loss of 52 minutes.
 
Glueck

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