July 2018: Quiet, Then Much Like Florida
Whatever heat wave we had at the beginning of July would be a lost memory by the second half of the month. Temperatures would not even really be the defining factor as excessive rainfall made the headlines, shattering records by the third and fourth week. This would all be thanks to a stark pattern shift that would send a plume of tropical weather our way.
Looking back at the end of June, that aforementioned heat wave would linger into the first week or so of July. The ensuing high pressure also kept us relatively dry until a weakening cold front early on the 6th. This ushered in relatively cool and humidity-free weather (for this time of year, anyway) over the next few days. In fact, many locations across the northeast fell comfortably into the 50s and even 40s during the overnights!
While that gave us some relief from the heat, Hurricane Chris would then dominate the conversation. It first became a tropical storm and was nearly stationary for a period of time as a nearby front kept it trapped off the coast of the Carolinas. Once the pattern shifted, Chris safely shifted its way off to the northeast and out-to-sea by the middle of the second week. A boundary eventually brought showers and showers on the 15th, only to then be followed up by a strong cold front on the 17th. This triggered severe weather, though most of it was wind damage from Maryland through New England. One of these storms actually produced an EF-0 tornado near Ashford, CT, bringing down several trees.
Here’s a look at the flooding at @Hersheypark. A spokeswoman tells me the lower lying areas around Spring Creek are the most impacted by the rising water.
Photo: The Wyse Choice pic.twitter.com/3f7PJXhldF
— Logan Wilson (@LoganWilsonNews) July 23, 2018
We then experienced another pleasant stretch of weather akin to what we saw earlier in the month. An upper-level disturbance, combined with a steady stream of tropical flow, then crashed the party and led to an exceptionally rainy and humid period between the 21st and 28th. This also proved to create several severe weather days as well, although flooding was the top issue (especially across central PA and south through Maryland). Many areas across southern New England through the Mid-Atlantic would come to experience multiple tropical downpours on some days that would occur over the course of several hours.
In terms of flooding, most areas outside of New England received substantial rainfall, specifically across the Mid-Atlantic. As much as 10 to 15 inches fell over the course of a few days in east-central Pennsylvania down through Maryland. This resulted in significant flooding that even closed Hershey Park in Hershey, PA for a few days! Baltimore broke all-time records, having received a foot of rain (half of which fell in just two separate days). In fact, the city received 16.73 inches in total for the month of July, crushing an old record set back in 1889 by a near whopping 7 inches! Three tornadoes also occurred during this time: one on the 22nd in the Lehigh Valley in PA, the other two early in the morning on the 26th near Douglas/Upton, MA. The latter ones caused quite a bit of damage, including some to 10 homes, one of which had the roof torn off.
Our student meteorologist and @WCVB weather intern Brandon Silbor is on scene in #Upton surveying the potential tornado damage from last night #MAwx #tornado #weather @UMassLowell pic.twitter.com/4NrJFKnOLo
— UML Weather Center (@UMLWeatherCTR) July 26, 2018
Additional severe storms led to wind damage on the 27th and 28th before the pattern eased some as we neared August. The humidity would be here to stay though, as soupy air would dominate even through the beginning of this month.