Temps continue to soar
You know it’s been a scorching July when temperatures in the mid-80s are a cool down.
In the first 24 days of July in Columbus, the mercury has hit the 90s on 15 days. Eight days have seen highs in the 80s and just one day recorded a high temperature in the 70s, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
As of Monday, July 24, that put the average daily high for July at 90 degrees. In comparison, there were no 90-degree days in the first 24 days of July last year, with an average high temperature at this point of 86.8 degrees. According to the NWS.
Precipitation is running far below normal, with .37 inches so far this month, compared with the normal amount of .96 inches by this point in July.
At Mystic Lake, the average daily high as of Monday was 78.3 degrees, with one day in the 60s, 13 days in the 70 and nine days in the 80s, according to the NWS. The normal daily high is 74.8 degrees and last year, not one day reached into the 80s. On the precipitation front, Mystic Lake is faring better than Columbus, with 1.55 inches thus far, compared to the normal amount of 1.91 inches at this point in the month.
Rapelje is proving to be the county’s hot-spot, with a average daily high of 92 degrees, compared to the normal reading of 86.1 degrees, according to the NWS. One day has hit the century mark, with 16 days in the 90s and six days in the 80s. The .45 inches of precipitation that has been received is well under the normal amount of 1.35 inches, according to the NWS.
Accumulated precipitation since the first of the year for Columbus was fairly normal until early June, since which time precipitation has flat-lined, along with the rest of the region, said Tom Frieders, NWS warning coordination meteorologist.
“This is not near as bad as what some areas of eastern Montana are experiencing with some areas seeing rainfall deficits over 6 inches,” said Frieders.
However, the extended period of heat has continued to dry out vegetation across the entire region.
“This, combined with breezy conditions at times and spotty rainfall, has aided this and continues to increase our fire dangers,” said Frieders.
Hot weather is expected to continue through the end of the week and beyond, with highs between 87 degrees and 91 degrees, with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms Thursday and Thursday night.