June in the West
The northern tier of the West saw above normal precipitation this month along with slightly below normal temperatures. The Southwest was primarily under the influence of typical summertime high pressure and remained mostly dry and with temperatures somewhat warmer than normal.
The Southwest monsoon season officially began on June 15, though little to no precipitation was observed in the Southwest US monsoon region from this date through the end of the month. As is common in June, many southwestern locations did not receive any measurable precipitation this month including Los Angeles and Sacramento in California, Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada, and Phoenix and Flagstaff in Arizona. The Central Sierra received some beneficial precipitation on the 25th and 26th with the passage of an upper level low; several locations saw a storm total over 0.5 in (13 mm). Following a record wet spring, Seattle, Washington saw below normal precipitation for the first month since January. Seattle recorded 0.73 in (19 mm) of rainfall this month, 46% of normal. Drought conditions continued to expand throughout the West, with every state seeing expansion of a small area of abnormally dry conditions at the very least. Slight improvements in drought conditions were observed in small areas of eastern Washington, eastern New Mexico, and eastern Colorado.
June is typically one of the wettest months of the year for much of Montana, and precipitation was more abundant than normal this month. Kalispell recorded 5.24 in (133 mm), 204% of normal and the 4th wettest June since records began in 1896. Great Falls observed 4.18 in (106 mm), 165% of normal. Other inland Northwest locations saw above normal precipitation as well. Meacham, Oregon recorded 4.19 in (106 mm) of rain this month, the second wettest June since records began in 1948.
Warmer than normal temperatures accompanied dry conditions in the Southwest. In northern California, Ukiah recorded an average temperature of 72.1 F (22.3 C) this month, 4.5 C (2.5 C) above normal and the warmest June since records began in 1949. Temperatures at Fresno, California, averaged to 80.9 F (27.2 C), tied with 2013 for the 4th warmest June in a 67-year record. Las Vegas, Nevada, saw 21 days with temperatures equal to or above 100 F (37.8 C); the normal for June is 15 days. This was the 5th warmest June on record at Las Vegas at an average 89.4 F (31.9 C). Further east, Tucson, Arizona recorded its 3rd warmest June at 88.9 F (31.6 C), 4.1 F above normal. The first half of 2014 has been the warmest on record for Tucson at an average 69.7 F (20.9 C). Tucson’s records began in 1946.
Cooler than normal temperatures were seen in the wetter areas of the West this month, though were within a few degrees of normal and far from record setting. Lewistown, Montana recorded an average 55.3 F (12.9 C), 2.8 F (1.5 C) below normal and the 20th coolest June in a 119-year record. In Wyoming, Lake Yellowstone recorded an average temperature of 45.2 F (7.3 C). 3.4 F (1.9 C) below normal.
Above normal precipitation was observed throughout the eastern half of Alaska. In the far southeast, Ketchikan received 5.45 in (138 mm) of rainfall on June 22nd, the wettest June day since records began in 1910. Also in the southeast, Juneau logged its wettest June in a 79-year record at 7.46 in (189 mm), 230% of normal. Temperatures were cooler than normal throughout the state this month, especially in the Interior. Further south, precipitation was variable throughout Hawaii with many locations below normal on Big Island and in Maui County and above normal on Oahu and Kauai.
Significant Events for June 2014
June (all month): Southwest drought continues: The onset of typical hot, dry summer conditions further exacerbated the drought situation in many areas of the West. In Nevada, ranchers continue to scale back their herds and a few have sold their ranches. Farmers in Pershing County are receiving zero allocations of water this year, and fish die-offs are expected in several low water reservoirs. Nearly all of California’s major reservoirs are reporting below average storage and mandatory water restrictions are in effect for many municipalities. Low water levels are impacting boating and recreation on some of California’s lakes and reservoirs.
June 25: Diego Fire, New Mexico: Lightning strikes ignited this fire near Coyote, New Mexico and the fire has since grown to over 3,000 acres (1200 hectares). No structures have been destroyed, but road closures and evacuations are in effect.