July in Review: A look back at last month’s weather

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Another month has passed us by, and it’s time to take a look back and see what happened with the weather and why this was a significant month! A lot happened in Southern West Virginia over the 31 days of July, we nearly the topped the charts in a few categories, and for some we fell just short. Let’s get into the details in this month’s review!

**ALL THE DATA LISTED HERE IS FOR BECKLEY, WV UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED**

Image may contain: text that says '2ND HOTTEST JULY EVER 1. 75.8 1931 STORM TRACKER 59 2. 74.9 2020 3. 74.8 2011 4. 74.5 1993 5. 74.4 1896 6. 74.3 2012 7. 73.9 1949 8. 73.6 1934 9. 73.5 1902, 1916, 1999, 2019 Sp AdobeSpark'

We’ll start this one off with the big story of the month, our temperatures. It was hot this July. Things got so hot, we almost set a record for the hottest July ever! We fell just short of the #1 spot, but we still took #2 for the top 10 hottest Julys ever in Beckley. This is the fourth time in less than a decade we’ve seen a top 10 hottest July in Beckley. Including 2011 at #3, 2012 at #6, and 2019 which is tied for #9.

During July 2020 we didn’t see a single day below average. We saw 2 days that had average temperatures, the other 29 days were above average.

Bluefield, WV was a completely different story on the other hand! In the end they saw a pretty healthy mixture of above, below and average days when it came to temperatures. The overall average temperature in Bluefield for July 2020 was 72.6° nearly half a degree below average. Talk about a tale of two cities.

Some notable temperatures we saw this month:

  • July 19th and 21st: Highs of 90° were recorded in Beckley, WV (Highest temperatures of the month, and year so far)
  • July 21st: A high of 87° was recorded in Bluefield, WV (Highest temperature seen all month)
  • July 23rd and 31st: The only days not at 80° or above at Beckley, WV (23rd: 78°, 31st: 77°)

July was a dry month, at least until the last week and a half. In fact, up until July 22 it had only rained 0.32-inches! We ended up doubling our monthly precipitation on the 22nd, when 0.35-inches fell bringing us up to 0.67-inches and then we opened the flood gates. In the last 8 days of the month another 2.83-inches fell, but that wasn’t enough to undo the dry start to the month. Overall we fell a little more than an inch and half below normal for the month of July. Normally this is one of our wettest months!

Days with notable precipitation:

  • July 28th: 1.13″ of rain fell in Beckley, WV (Highest one day total for July 2020)
  • July 30th: 0.97″ of rain fell in Beckley, WV
  • July 30th: 1.88″ of rain fell in Bluefield, WV (Nearly half of their total monthly rainfall [4.04″])

Now lets look at things a little differently. Our partners at Climate Central crunched the numbers. Summer is getting hotter in West Virginia. The fact we saw the second hottest July ever at Beckley wasn’t a fluke, it’s more of a worrying trend. Bluefield, WV, has seen average summertime temperatures rise 3.5° since 1970 a significant jump in only 40 years. Data specific to Beckley isn’t available at the moment, but Bluefield serves as an excellent example to how our climate is changing year by year.

This brings July’s “Month in Review” to a close, a big shout out to folks at NWS Charleston, NWS Blacksburg, and Climate Central who provided all of the data you see here. I’ll see you next month for August’s “Month in Review”! – StormTracker 59 Meteorologist Liam Healy

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