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

Weather

Beckley, WV (WVNS) — July was notable, not for its temperatures, but for how dry things were as an interesting pattern took shape across the area. Let’s dissect July and see just where things went wrong in the atmosphere and what went right.

**ALL DATA LISTED IS FOR BECKLEY, WV UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED**

July 2021

Temperatures

Temperatures during July held fairly steady for nearly the entire month, with some of the most extreme temperatures limited to just the first few days. As a whole, we managed to get as close to average as we could, falling just 0.2-degrees below the 1991-2020 average for July.

July temperature departures for Beckley, WV. Blues indicate days cooler than average, while reds indicate days warmer than average.

July, of course, like almost every other month of the year, is on average warmer than it used to be. This means, while now it is considered ‘near or slightly below average,’ as early as 2020 it would have been considered ‘above average’. This may sound like a broken record, but it’s so important to realize and reinforce the fact the climate isn’t what it was just 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

July temperature departures for Beckley, WV compared to previous years. Blues indicate cooler than average while red indicates warmer than average for the monthly departure.

Precipitation

Suffice to say, for lawns, gardens, and crops it was not a great month when it came to our weather. When we did see rain, it was spotty and many areas were left out to dry for long stretches, relying on irrigation and manual watering to keep plants healthy and alive.

Reds, oranges and yellows indicate below normal areas of rainfall for the month of July. Pocahontas, Nicholas and Wyoming counties saw the greatest departure from their normal precipitation.
Image Via: High Plains Regional Climate Center Data: NOAA RCC

July is one of the wettest months in Beckley, topping out on average at 5-inches of rain. This month Beckley saw only 3.29-inches, with nearly half of that falling in one day as a heavy shower rolled over the weather station at the airport. A great example of how hit or miss the rain was this month.

Image Description: July 2021 Precipitation Beckley, 3.29-inches; Normal July Precipitation 5-inches. Annual precipitation so far in Beckley, 25.43-inches; Normal annual precipitation so far in Beckley, 27.84-inches.

Bluefield was also notably dry for the month, with 2.26-inches being the total when midnight struck on July 31, quite shy of the 4.36-inches that is normally expected. Just 9 out of 31 days saw greater than or equal to 0.01-inches of rain in Bluefield.

Image Description: July 2021 Precipitation Bluefield, 2.26-inches; Normal July Precipitation 4.36-inches. Annual precipitation so far in Bluefield, 21.64-inches; Normal annual precipitation so far in Bluefield, 26.52-inches.

At the end of July, areas along the West Virginia/Virginia border were labeled as ‘Abnormally Dry,’ the first category of the drought monitor produced by NOAA. It is likely without a wet August that we’ll see more of the area receive this designation.

Image Description: Drought monitor: Pocahontas, Eastern Greenbrier, Monroe, Giles, Bland, and Tazewell counties are labeled as abnormally dry. Issued: July 29, 2021

Notable Weather Events in July 2021

  • July 1: Heavy rain along a passing cold front moved through, this produced a singular severe thunderstorm in Greenbrier county.
  • July 8: Minor impacts with isolated flooding as an outer band of Tropical Storm Elsa, influenced by an approaching cold front, brought heavy rain to some areas. Tazewell county saw the heaviest rainfall during this day.
  • July 10: Strong storms rolled through the coalfields, prompting a Severe Thunderstorm Warning on the edges of Wyoming and McDowell counties.

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