June was quite the weather month! Yes, I know that was an understatement. Relentless rain and storms, intense heat that almost set records, and of course all the rain from that tropical system.
While I am hoping for a better July, I am not too optimistic. The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal temperatures and above normal rainfall to continue. That’s saying a lot considering July is the warmest month of the year and the second wettest.
Our average low in July is 70 and the average high is 89. The humidity that was staggering in June will likely continue into July and that means we will see much higher “feels like” temperatures. It is not uncommon to see heat indices ranging from 102 to 107 degrees this time of year. You need to be extra mindful of the kids playing outside. They don’t sweat like we adults do and that can lead to overheating and health issues.
July is the second wettest month of the year. We average 5.12 inches right behind March, where we average 5.38 inches. This rain can come from tropical weather systems but will more than likely come from pop-up afternoon thunderstorms. Over the past couple of years I have actually seen an increase in positive lightning strikes. Cloud-to-ground lightning (the negatively charged lightning) comes from the sky down, but the part you see comes from the ground up. A typical cloud-to-ground flash lowers a path of negative electricity (that we cannot see) toward the ground in a series of spurts. Objects on the ground generally have a positive charge. Since opposites attract, an upward streamer is sent out from the object about to be struck. When these two paths meet, a return stroke zips back up to the sky. It is the return stroke that produces the visible flash, but it all happens so fast – in about one-millionth of a second – so the human eye doesn’t see the actual formation of the stroke.
Positive lightning is what I am seeing more and more of (and I am still researching why) over the past few years. This is a formidable creature of nature. A negative lightning bolt will typically be charged with a million volts of electricity and about 30,000 amps. A positive lightning bolt will typically pack a billion volts with 300,000 amps! It does not come from the cloud base. It will leap out of the top of a thunderstorm cloud and can travel a distance of 25 miles! You can see two reasons to be concerned. First, you could be at the lake enjoying a nice sunny day and lightning could strike very near you from a storm you think is only in the distance. Two, it is also much more powerful. My advice is to download our WSB weather app or any radar app you like. Then you can plan when to go to the lake and when not to. If I see storms anywhere close to the lake, I am staying home. July storms produce intense lightning and I am not taking the chance, especially with kids.
Have a wonderful July. Check the radar frequently. Be safe and have fun!