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Saturday, December 20, 2014, 7:54 p.m.
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'Unseasonably' cool July breaks records

Temperatures set new average lows in 38 towns, beckoned crowds to outdoors

By Kenneth Heard

This article was published August 2, 2014 at 3:25 a.m.

July was the coolest month on record in more than 35 Arkansas cities, breaking some low marks that were set decades ago, meteorologists at the National Weather Service in North Little Rock said.

Unseasonably cool temperatures have dominated the state for most of the summer as high pressure remains to the west and allows northerly cool air to flow into Arkansas, weather service meteorologist Dave Scheibe said.

"The northwesterly flow keeps bringing in disturbances, and it keeps the state wet and cool," Scheibe said. "The ridge of pressure has never set up over us like it does most summers. The jet stream is normally in northern Canada now. But this has allowed the jet to dip far into the South."

Mammoth Spring's average 70.3 degrees for the month broke the Fulton County town's previous record of 72.9 degrees set in 1950, and it was the lowest average for the state. Officials have kept climate records for the town since 1904.

The town's average low readings of 58 degrees also broke a record set in 1950.

"This is crazy for July," said Adam Davis, the welcome center manager at the Mammoth Spring State Park. "Everybody is talking about this."

Davis said he's seen an increase in visitors to the park, many who walk around the 0.6-mile trail.

"We've had some great weather on the weekends," he said. "We've had huge crowds take advantage of it."

Hardy's average low for July of 63.4 degrees broke a record set there in 1918, and Mountain View's average low of 64.2 degrees tied a record set in the Stone County town in 1984.

In Camden, where temperatures often climb above 100 degrees in late July, the average high for the Ouachita County town was only 77.5 degrees, tying a record set there in 1989.

"We're very happy," Camden City Clerk Donna Stewart said. "We're loving this weather. We're used to 100 degrees, and we've only had one day so far where it was really hot.

"I'm waiting until 5 o'clock comes so I can go outside and enjoy it. People are staying outside more. They're taking their dogs on longer walks than normal because it's cooler."

The weather service said 38 towns set or tied the lowest average high temperature for July. They included Batesville, Mena, Mountain Home, Malvern, Newport, Morrilton, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Clarksville, Hot Springs and Searcy.

Entergy Arkansas spokesman Sally Graham said July electric usage records for customers were not available, but she believed the lower temperatures likely resulted in less electrical use.

"We know that energy usage typically follows temperature," she said in an email. "With this milder-than-usual July, it's possible customers have used less energy to cool their homes."

Scheibe said temperatures are expected to rise to the mid-to-upper 80s this weekend. There's a slight chance of rain arriving in the state Wednesday evening.

State Desk on 08/02/2014

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