If you thought July felt like the warm tongue of a large Labrador retriever slathering the back of your neck, it wasn't just your imagination.
The average temperature for July — the sweet spot between the high and the low during those dog days — was 78.9 degrees, making it the warmest average temperature for the month since the National Weather Service began keeping such records in the Medford area in 1911, according to Chuck Glaser.
"Overall, that's the temperature everybody feels," said Glaser, data acquisition program manager for the agency's weather station at the Medford airport.
"It doesn't mean the world is coming to an end or anything," added Glaser, who has worked at the local station for more than 38 years.
"But it is kind of strange that the top four highest average temperatures in July have occurred since 2003."
That includes 77.6 degrees in 2006 and again in 2009, as well as 77.9 in 2003, he said.
What's more, this July brought the highest minimum average temperature of 61.7 degrees, narrowly edging the old record of 61.5 in 2007, he said.
The average high temperature for July was 96.1 degrees this year, making it second only to the average high temperature of 96.7 degrees recorded in 1911, he said.
The highest temperature in July was the 106 degrees on the 25th, he said, adding there were 10 days of 100 degrees or higher last month.
There will be more hot weather to come.
"July and August are pretty close when it comes to high temperatures," Glaser said.
In fact, the overall average high temperature for July is 91.0 degrees, while August is breathing down its neck for an average high of 90.7 degrees, he said.
Indeed, August can broil at times, he said, noting there were four consecutive days beginning on Aug. 7, 1981, when the mercury rose to 110 degrees, he said. The temperature topped out during the skein at 114 degrees on Aug. 8 that year, he noted.
Yet it failed to edge out July 20, 1946, when the temperature broiled up to 115 degrees, registering the hottest day ever recorded by the National Weather Service in the Rogue Valley, he said.
The Weather Service is calling for a brief cooling period, with temperatures predicted in the low- to mid-80s today, before they begin a climb back into the mid-90s by Sunday and extending to at least midweek.
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.