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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Were 3 record lows enough to have July end up with below average temps?

  • For the month of July St. James experienced three record lows in a row on the nights of the 27th with a low of 48, the 28th with a low of 46 and the 29th with a low of 48.
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  • For the month of July St. James experienced three record lows in a row on the nights of the 27th with a low of 48, the 28th with a low of 46 and the 29th with a low of 48.
    So the question is, did we experience a month that had above average high temperatures or below average high temperatures?
    The answer is above average - slightly above average. That chill in the air at the end of July was not enough to completely cool down what had been a warm month.
    The average for July according to weather.com is 83 degrees F. July 2013 ended up with an average high temperature of 83.68 degrees F. We were slightly above average. That's the first time since January that St. James has experienced above average month.
    What overcame the cool six day stretch at the end of the month were eight 90 F. days or hotter that happened from the 4th of July when it hit 90 to the 18th when the thermometer hit 93 for the second day in a row.
    I wouldn't call that a blazing hot stretch. That last stretch of 90s got the heat index up to around 100 which was uncomfortable but not unbearable. Last year, the temperature for July averaged nearly three degrees above average.
    Last month's heat was pleasantly offset by that cool burst of Canadian air that swept in the last week of the month.
    Besides the three record lows St. James experienced some very cool afternoon highs. Both the 26th and the 27th of the month had high temperatures of 70 degrees. That's the average high we see around here on Sept. 21.
    One weather element that was way below normal in July was rainfall. July averages 4.27 inches of rain, but this year we officially received only 1.32 inches of rain.
    The bean and corn crops were planted late this year due to the cold, wet spring, so an adequate amount of rainfall last month would have helped boost potential crop yields.
    The dry July that Watonwan County experienced is reflected in US  Drought Monitor map published each week.
    For the week ending July 30, Watonwan County and a swath of the state from the southwest to central Minnesota has returned to a condition of abnormally dry.
    It was not until June 25, of this year that the Drought Monitor report indicated Watonwan County was finally removed from a drought or abnormally dry state. So, we were officially out of those dry or drought conditions for a little over a month.
    It is difficult to predict temperatures, but the website Accuweather does take a stab at it. For August, the website calls for no 90 degrees days for St. James and temperatures that are mostly at or below normal. It also suggests that August might be on the dry side even though we had a good dose of rain early this week.
    Page 2 of 2 - Weather forecasters were calling the last week of July Jul-tober for its fall like feel.
    St. James does not normally get its first frost until Oct. 7. The last two years we had frosts in September after hot summers.
    Will this cool stretch of weather lead to an early frost? The earliest freezing temperature St. James has ever experienced was on a Sept. 3 with a temperature of 32. That's a bit of an outlier as the next record low was 31 on a Sept. 15.
    With more cool, dry weather likely to slow crop development, an early frost is not what area farmers would want. A long growing season is needed to overcome the late planting season.
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