July: hottest month ever for states already suffering from drought
POSTED: Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 9:00am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Scientists say july was the hottest month ever in the lower 48 states.
For much of the country it was also the driest month ever.
"Temperatures are warmer, it dries the soil, worsening the drought and the drought, in turn, increases the temperatures," explains NOAA climate scientist Jake Crouch.
Triple digit heat was commonplace in even more places, contributing to the drought that's become the largest natural disaster ever, covering 63-percent of the contiguous United States.
Lakes and rivers across the country are drying up.
"We're losing about a foot a day," says Colorado marina owner Glen Werth. "We really did not expect that we'd be out of business by the end of July this year"
It was the heat, more so than the drought, that fueled the wildfires that consumed two million acres in July.
Agriculture continues to suffer the most.
Analysts expect the smallest corn crop in years.
Wayne Bray's crop in Virginia started out promising, but has largely vanished.
"The heat came at a time when the stalks were green and they were starting to pollinate, and the heat kind of shut the pollination down on the corn and it pretty much baked the corn," he explains.
July was the 14th straight month of above average temperatures, another record.
Forecasters predict the heat will remain on for at least august and probably beyond.