Columbia's cool July temperatures far short of record

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | 5:32 p.m. CDT; updated 5:43 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 31, 2013

COLUMBIA —Temperatures climbed to 95 degrees on July 28, 2012. Exactly a year later, Columbia recorded a record low: 52 degrees. 

Though Columbia experienced a mild July, last month's temperature averages won't set any records. 

July temperatures averaged around 75 degrees, about 2 degrees lower than Columbia's average, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kramper said.

The temperatures are set to make July 2013 about the 20th-coldest July in Columbia in the more than 120 years the Weather Service has been recording data. The coldest July on record was in 1924, which averaged 72.2 degrees. 

July 2004 was the second-coldest, averaging 72.3 degrees. 

The cooler weather caused corn maturation to slow, but the overall health of the crop is still good, said Bob Garino, director of the Missouri field office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

Kramper said the month has felt particularly mild because July 2012 was extremely hot.

"Last summer was one of the hottest ever, so it's going to seem cooler," Kramper said.

July 2012 was the fifth-hottest July on record. Temperatures averaged 85.4 degrees. June, July and August 2012 made up the sixth-hottest summer since 1890, according to Weather Service records.

This July, a pattern of northwest flow 30,000 to 40,000 feet in the atmosphere kept much of the Midwest feeling cooler than average, Kramper said. 

In Columbia, July rainfall totals were 1.77 inches below average, which Kramper called an unusual finding because cooler temperatures often accompany periods of above-average rainfall.

Kramper said that after a wet spring, less rainfall prevented flooding in mid-Missouri.

"The heavy rain we had in spring shut off," Kramper said. "It's actually good because if it hadn't, the rivers would have gone nuts."

Garino said although cooler temperatures slow growth, they can sometimes be better than hot weather, especially during a dry spell. 

"It's a mixed bag," Garino said. "The cooler weather slowed maturation, but on the other side there's no heat stress. Overall, we're still in decent shape."

Corn in Boone County is faring better than other parts of the state, Garino said. As of Thursday, Boone's land was classified as abnormally dry, while a large swath of northwest Missouri was facing moderate drought.

As of Sunday, corn maturation in mid-Missouri was on par with state averages. Eighty-three percent of mid-Missouri's corn had silked, compared with 79 percent statewide, according to USDA records. Only 12 percent of the corn was at more advanced stages of maturity, compared with 23 percent statewide. 

Garino said a combination of late planting due to spring rain, cool temperatures and low precipitation has corn maturation running about a week behind average. Corn yield and production forecasts will be released Aug. 12.

With August just beginning, it's too early to tell how temperatures this summer will stack up against 2012's record-setting heat. Kramper said Columbia's June temperatures, which averaged 73.5 degrees, were right around average.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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