The weather in July in Berks County was dominated by the deluge seen on the 9th that caused flash flooding in low-lying areas and was especially damaging along the Antietam Creek.
A spotter in the nearby uphill Five Points area measured 9.16 inches of rainfall on the 9th, en route to a 13-inch total for the month.
Officially for Berks, instruments at Reading Regional Airport, the National Weather Service site and station of record, measured 5.35 inches on the 9th. It was a date record and a record for any July day, bettering 5.32 inches set on July 12, 2004. The record period stretches to 1869.
But the stage had been set for flooding with downpours on the 7th that set a date record for Berks and saturated the ground ahead of the 9th.
Through the 9th, about 8 inches of rain had been recorded at the airport, and the rest of the month saw conditions settle down, with a finish of 10.07 inches, good enough for fifth wettest July in the 154-year database.
“Most of central Berks County, including the greater Reading area, saw the greatest month totals, mostly over 9.99 inches, while many of the peripheral locations got slightly to much less, even a few below-normal July totals,” said Jeffrey R. Stoudt, Berks weather historian and retired meteorologist. “The 5.35 amount on the 9th washed away a strong date record of 3.74 from 1952.”
“With 22 days to go in a pattern which was conducive to several more regional heavy rain events, reaching at least a foot should have been easy,” Stoudt added. “Said events occurred but not at the airport. Instead, the airport area caught several rather minor rainfalls.”
In the end, the county climbed back from a substantial deficit to get to near normal for 2023, though the state Department of Environmental Protection-issued drought watch remains in effect, not just in Berks but across Pennsylvania.
The top 10 wettest Julys include 2004, which was mostly like the start of last month nearly all month, plus 2017, which was the start of what turned out to be a soggy conclusion of last decade.
July 2004 was the first July in the records without a 90-degree day, a feat that would be replicated five years later, and not since. The high levels of precipitation to end last decade pushed the normals for some months and the annual normal to record levels.
Normal is calculated by the weather service as the averages from the most recently completed three full decades, which is 1991 to 2020. Normal varies as well. For temperatures, it’s in a dead heat with the 1931 to 1960 normals.
“Temperatures ran consistently very warm to minimally hot with no incursion of unusual coolness and resulted in a final average of 78.1 degrees, which is 2.0 above the 1991-2020 average,” said Stoudt, founder of the Berks Area Rainfall Networks, which is marking its 40th year. “This rather toasty average came about despite a lack of severe heat.
“The hottest was a modest 94 on the 28th, which is a few (degrees) lower than typical July maximums. Eleven days heated to at least 90, which is high-end average.
“However, for the second consecutive July, all 31 days warmed to at least 80, a feat which had been rare during the 126-year temperature database. Almost as rare has been a July during which it failed to cool below 60. This July’s minimum of 62 did not occur until the last day.
July 2011 is No. 2 for average temperature behind 1955 and contains the hottest day on record: 106 degrees on the 22nd. There have been several runs at 1955 but it remains the king of heat in the temperature database.
July 2022 tied for sixth hottest July and July 2023 tied for 15th.
Last month ended on a pleasant throw-open-the-windows note, which has continued. August is off to a cooler-than-normal start.
The long-range AccuWeather forecast shows summer making a bit of a return, with rising temperatures and humidity.
The forecast shows a run at 90 degrees on Thursday, but five days out is on the edge of reliability.
A year ago, August 2022 set a record for average temperature at 78.7 degrees among all Augusts in the database.
By the 5th of that month, however, there had already been four 90-degree days. This month doesn’t seem to be setting up for a repeat.
• 10.07″: Rainfall
• 4.77″: Normal
• 78.1°: Temperature
• 76.1°: Normal
90-degree days: 11 (year: 13)
• 2.39″: Rainfall on the 7th (2.10, 1984)
• 5.35″: Rainfall on the 9th (3.74, 1952) and monthly record (5.32, 7/12/2004)
Rainiest Julys in Berks
Source: U.S. Weather Bureau-National Weather Service database
July rainfall totals
From the Berks Area Rainfall Networks:
• Fleetwood, 14.32 inches
• Five Points, 13.08
• Cornwall Terrace, 12.94
• Blandon, 12.88
• Muhlenberg Park, 12.77
• West Lawn, 12.60
• Reiffton, 11.74
• Pricetown, 11.43
• Lincoln Park, 11.25
• Cacoosing, 11.24
• West Reading, 11.04
• Wernersville, 10.90
• Greenfields, 10.86
• Jacksonwald, 10.80
• Wyomissing, 10.14
• Shillington, 9.82
• Boyers Junction, 9.68
• Topton, 9.60
• Vinemont, 8.20
• Mertztown, 8.18
• Oley Furnace, 8.12
• Dryville, 7.54
• Boyertown, 7.52
• Amityville, 7.15
• Birdsboro, 6.68
• Mohrsville 6.48
• New Morgan, 6.48
• Mohnton, 6.43
• Hamburg, 6.01
• Morgantown, 5.84
• Frystown, 5.78
• Mohrsville, 5.62
• Henningsville, 5.34
• Womelsdorf, 5.14
• Lobachsville, 5.12
• Pine Grove, 4.89
• Kutztown, 4.80
• Bernville, 4.63
• Shartlesville, 4.55
• Adamstown, 4.23
• Knauers, 3.51
Source: Berkshire mont