July was the hottest month in the continental United States on record, beating the hottest month in the devastating Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the U.S. government reported on Wednesday.
It was also the warmest January-to-July period since modern record-keeping began in 1895, and the warmest 12-month period, eclipsing the last record set just a month ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.
This is the fourth time in as many months that U.S. temperatures broke the hottest-12-months record…
Along with record heat, drought covered nearly 63 percent of the 48 contiguous states, according to NOAA’s Drought Monitor, with near-record drought conditions in the Midwest, where 75 percent of the U.S. corn and soybean crops are grown.
Analysts expect the drought, the worst since 1956, will yield the smallest corn crop in six years, meaning record-high prices and tight supplies. It would be the third year of declining corn production despite large plantings…
Drought and heat fed each other in July, according to Jake Crouch, a scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
Dry soils in the summer tend to drive up daytime temperatures, and because dry soils prevailed over so much of the United States, that helped make things hotter over a wide area, Crouch said…
“The hotter it gets, the drier it gets, the hotter it gets,” Crouch said.
President Obama has called on Congress to pass a farm bill so disaster aid can flow to livestock producers. Crop insurance covers most row-crop growers but ranchers aren’t especially covered.
Of course, the folks who pray for rain – could pray for a Congress that pays attention to science and real-time economics. Mail me a penny postcard when that happens. The Congress, that is. Not the praying.