Warm and dry conditions over a large portion of the United States contributed to near-record wildfires that burned more than 2 million acres in July, says information from the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS).
The total represents almost half a million acres above the average, and the fourth most on record since 2000, notes the NESDIS’ State of the Climate Report, a collection of monthly summaries recapping climate-related occurrences on both a global and national scale.
Precipitation totals were mixed during July, with the contiguous United States as a whole being drier than average. “Drier-than-average conditions continued across the Central Plains and Midwest during July. Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri had July precipitation totals ranking among their 10 driest. Maine had its fifth driest July on record.”
Combined with the lower precipitation totals is the heat. “In total, 32 states had July temperatures among their 10 warmest, with seven states having their second warmest July on record,” NESDIS reports.
The January-July period in 2012 was the warmest first seven months of any year on record for the contiguous United States, which posted a national temperature of 56.4 F. This was 4.3 degrees above the long-term average.