June in the West
June started out warm, turned cool, then returned to extreme and record warmth at month end, with little relief for most areas affected by ongoing drought.
Impressive high temperature records fell in the Southwest. Tucson, Arizona saw its first June on record (1895+) where all days logged triple digit highs. This was the warmest June in 119 years at both Tucson, with an average 89.5 F (31.9 C), and at Phoenix, with an average 94.8 F (34.8 C). On the 30th, Death Valley, California hit 129 F (53.9 C), the hottest June temperature ever at this station, and also equal to the highest June reading in United States history. On the same day, Las Vegas, Nevada tied its all-time hottest temperature for any month at 117 F (47.2 C), ending the warmest June in their 76-year record with an average 91.5 F (33.0 C). Reno, Nevada hit 100 F (37.8 C) on the 7th, the earliest century mark seen in their 76 year record, recorded their warmest June night (68 F / 20 C) on the 29th, capping their third warmest June at 71.8 F (22.1 C). Salt Lake City, Utah saw its highest June temperature on record (1874+) with 105 F (40.6 C) readings on both the 28th and 29th, to end their third warmest June, averaging 75.3 F (24.1 C). Elko, Nevada also tied its all-time June record high on the 30th at 104 F (40.0 C).
Not atypically, many locations in Southern California, southern Nevada, Utah, and Arizona reported no June precipitation. Precipitation totals for the last twelve months were a scant 5.85 in (149 mm) in Los Angeles, the 6th driest such period in 137 years and 39% of normal. Thunderstorms throughout the month brought much needed precipitation to isolated locations in the Great Basin, Arizona, eastern New Mexico and Colorado. However, Salt Lake City, Utah recorded no measurable precipitation for the second June in a row and only the 3rd June since 1948. Drought conditions worsened this month over Four Corners region, northern Great Basin, and Wyoming.
Near the Canadian border, conditions were cool as low pressure systems paraded past. These systems brought ample June precipitation to eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, the Idaho panhandle, and northern Montana. Sunnyside, in south-central Washington, logged its second wettest June in a 119-year record at 2.43 in (62 mm). Glasgow, in northeastern Montana, received 4.19 in (106 mm) precipitation, 180% of normal. An atmospheric river event, a feature more typical of December and January, doused parts of northern California near the end of the month. Santa Rosa, California, received 1.5 in (38 mm) for the month, 625% of the normal 0.24 in (6 mm).
After a cooler than normal spring, a mid-June heat wave brought record-breaking temperatures to South Central Alaska. McGrath hit 94 F (34.4 C) on June 17, shattering the previous all-time record at that location of 90 F (32.2 C) from June 15, 1969. Talkeetna hit 96 F (35.6 C), on the 17th as well, 5 F (2.8 C) above the standing record 91 F (32.8 C), and just 4 F (2.2 C) shy of the all-time annual Alaska record. Several other locations also saw all-time records tied or broken. Heat and continuing dryness greatly increased the incidence of fire in interior Alaska.
Significant Events for June 2013
June 7 and 16: Dust storms in Albuquerque, New Mexico: Strong outflow from thunderstorms churned up dust from the dry land surface twice this month, creating walls of dust that moved through the Albuquerque metro area. Though common in other parts of the Southwest, these dust storms are not frequently observed in Albuquerque.
June 10: Winnemucca dust storm: A dust storm caused 27 vehicles to crash and one fatality on Interstate 80 near Winnemucca, Nevada. High afternoon winds moved dust across the highway, reducing visibility.
June 11-20: Black Forest Fire, Colorado: The Black Forest Fire occurred within an urbanized area in central Colorado. The blaze charred 14,280 acres (5779 hectares), destroyed 502 structures and damaged 18, many of them homes.
Late June: Yarnell Hill fire, Arizona: 19 firefighter fatalities: A lightning strike ignited the Yarnell Hill wildfire southwest of Prescott, Arizona on June 28. The fire grew quickly on June 30 with hot, dry, and windy conditions. A change in winds and fire movement trapped the 19 firefighters on June 30. The fire had reached approximately 8,500 acres (3440 hectares) by the end of the month and threatened 250 structures.
June (all month) Fires in the West: At month’s end, there were 28 large fires burning in the West. Despite loss of life and property, for the year-to-date, 2013 is at approximately 60% of the 10-year average for both number of fires and acres burned in the nation.