Persistent, scorching heat in the central and eastern regions of the United States shattered long-standing daily and monthly temperature  records last month, making it the fourth warmest July on record nationally, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. The heat exacerbated drought conditions, resulting in the largest “exceptional” drought footprint in the 12-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor . “Exceptional” is the most severe category of drought on the drought monitor scale. Drought conditions at several locations in the South region are not as long lived, but are as dry, or drier, than the historic droughts of the 1930s and 1950s. July NCDC report .
The average U.S. temperature in July was 77.0 degrees F, which is 2.7 degrees F above the long-term (1901-2000) average. Precipitation , averaged across the nation, was 2.46 inches. This was 0.32 inch below the long-term average, with large variability between regions. The monthly analysis is based on records dating back to 1895. Read more of NOAA's release .