The weather that was: July 2019 9th warmest, less rainy than normal

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

July is, on average, Detroit's hottest month, and July 2019 cracked the all-time top 10 list, ranking as the ninth hottest on record, says the National Weather Service.

Overall, July was three degrees hotter than average in Detroit, 76.8 degrees compared to 73.6. Not only was the average high last month two degrees hotter than the historical high, 86.7 compared with 83.4, but the average low was about three degrees hotter, 66.8 compared with 63.9.

Meredith Zammit-Julius of Royal Oak and her niece, Isabella Zammit, 11, of Lathrup Village out kayaking on swollen waters of the Belle Isle canal in July. While localized flooding was a problem in some areas, July overall in Metro Detroit was drier than average.

The month was also drier than normal, with only one day, July 19, having more than a quarter-inch of rain. It rained almost 1.75 inches that day, but  the month as a whole saw only 2.63 inches of rain; 3.37 inches are typical for Detroit in July.

Alex Manion, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said there was a "very inactive pattern" in the jet stream in the area. While there were a number of thunderstorms, they were "very isolated in nature."

A variation of less than an inch of rain is not unusual for this time of year, Manion said. 

Manion said that while "you can't look at one month or even one year" of data and attribute it to climate change, "any time you're cracking the top 10 list, it's unusual."

Of late, he said, it's been more common to crack record highs than record lows. While July had nine days reach or exceed 90 degrees, and one above 95, all of its record lows are below 55 degrees, a line that was never crossed this year.

Though the month as a whole was warm, only one day, July 20, matched a high temperature record: 97 degrees. That record was set in 1977. 

Storms of July 19-20 caused massive power outages in southeast Michigan, some of lasting as long as six days.

Customers of DTE Energy and Consumers Energy are able to seek $25 credits if they were without power for five or more days, or "if their utility fails to restore electricity within 16 hours during a normal outage or there are numerous interruptions of service in a one-year period," per the Associated Press.

But they must choose to seek it. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, citing the prevalence of smart meters at both utilities, has argued that utilities know whose power was out and for how long and should credit their accounts automatically. 

As a whole, 2019 has been slightly rainier than normal for this time of year, 20.93 inches compared to the 19.43 yearly normal. 

August is Detroit's second-hottest month, and will start off on a warm note, with temps expected to hit the mid-to-upper 80s Thursday through at least next Wednesday. 

Rain is only in the forecast Tuesday, with a chance of thunderstorms projected both day and night, with highs approaching 90 and an overnight low of about 70.