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By Bob Valen 

Be careful out there, it’s finally hot

Weather Watcher


June came and went, squeezing out a high temperature of only 84.9°F that was the lowest high temperature for June in the past four years (1938 saw a record 105°F). The mean temperature for June is 65.6°F and we recorded only 61.8°F. Precipitation provides us with another story. We had 3.4 inches of rain here at the home weather station, highest amount in past four years. A gully washer occurred on the 26th. Mean precipitation for June is 0.99 inches, so we were well over that but we didn’t break any records. It was 1937 that the record was set at 4.29 inches.

July certainly came on strong, starting the weekend of July 7 and 8 as we finally broke into the 90-degree marks. July is our hottest month of the year. The mean temperature for July is 73.0°F with a record high way back in 1939 at 113°F. Mean precipitation is just under a half inch at 0.48 inches. In 1948 no precipitation was recorded. So far at my weather station we have recorded 0.21 inches. With the predicted drier summer for our region of the state coming from the Climate Prediction Center (PCP), I’ll be watching the rain gauge.

Now that we are experiencing the high summer temperatures, I’d like to ask readers of this column to be extra careful and watch for signs of heat stress. Heat is the number-one weather-related killer in the United States. This is what the National Weather Service says about heat: “In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.” Ironically, these heat deaths can be avoided with simple precautions. The word “hyperthermia” is used to address excessive heat exposure to humans. The chart we have provided as sidebar should be useful to everyone; recreationists, gardeners, boaters, workers (especially supervisors) indeed, everyone!

Wildfires will start popping up now as fuels such as the many grass species and small shrubs start curing out. Please, as my friend says, “Remember: Only you can Prevent Wildfires.”

We have three planets that are visible in July. Mercury, early in the month, will be low on the western horizon following sunset. Later in the evening, in the west, Mars and Saturn will begin to appear along with a bright star -- Spica in Virgo. On the Eastern horizon before sunrise you can see Venus and Jupiter. If you have a telescope you are encouraged to view the dwarf planet Pluto. It will ride high in the late-evening sky. Look for it on the southern edge of the bright open star cluster M25 in Sagittarius, too.

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