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July was ‘average’ but expect more thunderstorms

There were plenty of powerful thunderstorms last month, and temperatures were cooler than other recent summers, but statistically, July was considered an average weather month.

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Lightning in Night Sky
Pete Turner, Getty Images

“It may surprise people that July wasn’t cooler than average, but the last four Julys were all ranked as among the hottest on record,” said David Robinson, New Jersey state climatologist at Rutgers University.

Robinson also said frequent bursts of powerful thunderstorm activity are now considered normal.

“It’s not unusual that our rain comes in these huge pulses, and they can be very scattered around the state,” he said. “If you’ve been under one of those gully washers, you’ve seen rainfall rates of 1 and 2 and even 3 inches an hour — they may not last the whole hour, but you get a quick inch or two of rain and your storm drains can’t handle it, your roads flood, your small streams on occasion can’t handle it and you might see some flooding there.”

Robinson added rain events in general are becoming more common these days.

“We have seen a propensity of more large rain events, but we haven’t been able to tie them directly into just thunderstorms,” he said. “We can tie them into all types of rainfall events in the winter as well as the summer.”

According to Robinson, some areas of the state had as much as 8 or 9 inches of rain last month, compared to a normal of about 4 1/2, but other parts of the state saw only 2 or 3 inches.

Overall, he said, July was a normal weather month.

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