July temperatures fifth-hottest on record in Baltimore

July 2012 brought a slight cool-down relative to the past two years, but that doesn't mean it was cool -- it was the fifth warmest month of July on record in Baltimore since 1871.

The average temperature was 81.4 degrees last month, a few tenths of a degree cooler than the average 81.7 degrees in 2011 and 81.5 degrees in 2010, 1995 and 1872.

July was the 18th consecutive month in Baltimore with above-average temperatures. The average temperature in Baltimore for July has been 77 degrees since 1871.

Four days reached 100 degrees or hotter at BWI Marshall Airport last month, and another 17 reached highs in the 90s. In an average year, 12 days reach 90 degrees or hotter in Baltimore and 30 days reach that mark over the year, both marks we have already surpassed.

The July heat contributed to 34 deaths, according to the most recent report from state health officials, released Tuesday. Nineteen of the deaths have occurred in the Baltimore area. Specific dates of heat-related deaths were not made available, but all of the deaths were confirmed as heat-related in July.

Twenty-one of the deaths were confirmed during a nine-day span of temperatures 90 degrees and above that began June 29, when a severe derecho storm struck the region and caused hundreds of thousands of power outages.

The hot weather isn't unique to Baltimore, or to Maryland. The first six months of 2012 were the warmest on record for the continental U.S., and in June, the country marked its warmest 12-month period on record for the third consecutive month.

Have a weather question? E-mail me at sdance@baltsun.com or tweet to @MdWeather.

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