Unofficial numbers show July 2011 indeed going down as the 6th hottest in Missouri since 1895. Now a state climatologist is wondering if this season will rival last summer as one of the hottest ever in the state.

Doctor Pat Guinan with the University of Missouri says the average temperature for last month was about 83 degrees based on preliminary data from weather stations across the state. He notes June readings were above normal as well, so depending on what happens in August, this season could top the summer 2010.

Guinan says last summer was the hottest on record in southeastern Missouri. He says the difference this year has been that the entire state has been impacted by extremely hot temperatures.

July was also noteworthy not just for high high tempertures, but also for high low temperatures. Guinan says overnight readings often did not fall out of the 70s. That exacerbates stress on crops by denying plants a much-needed cool down period.

Guinan also notes the whole state could use some rain, but says the greatest drought conditions exist in southwestern and west-central Missouri. The early projections for the rest of August are not promising for any relief.