July set rain record, in one respect

This map shows the rainfall estimates from the NWS Doppler Radar located on Fort Dix. The areas of yellow and orange are rainfall totals in the 6 to 9 inch range. As you can see, the extremely heavy rainfall was confined to the Interstate 295 corridor in northwestern Salem County and western Gloucester County in New Jersey, crossing the river into South Philadelphia.
This map shows the rainfall estimates from the NWS Doppler Radar located on Fort Dix. The areas of yellow and orange are rainfall totals in the 6 to 9 inch range. As you can see, the extremely heavy rainfall was confined to the Interstate 295 corridor in northwestern Salem County and western Gloucester County in New Jersey, crossing the river into South Philadelphia.
Posted: August 02, 2013

Finishing at 13.24 inches, a July record, last month's rain all but drowned the official gauge at Philadelphia International Airport.

But that record might merit an asterisk since it was so localized.

One symptom evident Thursday: The National Weather Service has posted flash-flood watches until midnight, but no widespread major flooding is expected, despite additional downpours.

Arguably more impressive than the July rain was the overnight warming during the month.

The average daily low at the airport came in at 73.1, No. 2 on the all-time list for lows in July, behind 1994's 73.4.

July also set a record for consecutive days in which the temperature failed to drop below 70. The warmth continues a trend: The last four Julys all rank in the top 5 for high minimum temperatures in records dating to 1874.

As for the rain, while the rain was almost unbelievable, literally, the big splash on Sunday was incredibly focused, and the airport was in the bull's eye.

The gauge wasn't on a drinking binge, said Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist in charge of the local weather service office. On an archived radar image, peak rain totals can be seen right at the airport, where a piece of Delaware County juts into Southwest Philadelphia.

Elsewhere, however, the overall July totals were unexceptional.

The citywide total for the month, as calculated by the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, in State College, was under 5 inches, and thus close to normal.

The center, a National Weather Service office, uses the average of stations throughout a county to come up with countywide total.

The neighboring counties on both sides of the river weighed in with 6 to 7 inches, well above normal, but not 13.24. And even less than what fell at the airport between 3 and 7 p.m. on Sunday - 7.35 inches.


Contact Anthony R. Wood at 610-761-8423 or twood@phillynews.com

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