July muscles its way up the heat charts in Wichita


That’s the word the National Weather Service in Wichita used in its monthly summary to describe the heat that closed out July.

A closer look at the numbers for July shows why: the 2012 edition has few peers in Wichita’s climate history.

After a rather modest beginning, the month transformed into a monster over the final two weeks. By the time it ended, July had 21 days of triple-digit temperatures.

Only two years recorded more 100s in July – 1980 and 2011, with 24 each.

Wichita hit 100 or more 14 of the last 15 days of July and set or tied record highs four times in six days at the end of the month.

The month’s average high of 102.2 ranks 2012 fourth all-time in recorded Wichita weather history. Only 1980, 1954 and 2011 topped this year.

The average temperature of 88.2 tied 2012 with 1934 for fourth place on the list of Wichita’s hottest Julys. That list is topped by 1980, with 2011 next and then 1954.

Wichita also set or tied two marks for warmest lows, on July 29 and 30.

Little more than a quarter-inch of rain fell at the National Weather Service office in west Wichita, making this July the sixth-driest on record.

It’s too soon to say August will simply be more of the same, weather service meteorologist Andy Kleinsasser said. Triple digits are expected through Saturday, but a strong cool front is expected to bring showers to the area this weekend.

One forecast model suggests the dome of high pressure that has cooked Kansas for the past few weeks will shift to the south and west, allowing cooler temperatures to dominate next week after the showers move through. But another indicates the dome will clamp back down “and crank the heat right back up,” Kleinsasser said.

We’ll find out the answer soon enough.