It’s felt like a sauna at times in New Jersey this summer. But, believe it or not, this July was not the hottest on record.

In fact, it’s going down as the fifth warmest dating back to 1895.

“It actually was cooler this July than the last two Julys,” said State Climatologist Dr. Dave Robinson. “July 2011 was the second warmest and the July of 2010 was the third warmest. Seven of the ten warmest Julys in almost 120 years of record have occurred since 1993.”

Many of the storms have been severe and caused a great deal of damage.

“We had many strong storms which resulted in wind damage and localized flooding, but it is July and it is the stormiest time of year in terms of thunderstorms. That’s a summer type of rainfall pattern and it’s how we get most of our rain unless we get a tropical storm that comes up the coast. We have to live with the winds and lightning that accompany these heavy downpours in order to get enough rain onto the ground and onto our lawns and to help alleviate forest fire danger,” said Robinson. “When you put it all together, our preliminary precipitation number for the state for July is 3.71 inches of rainfall and that’s slightly below average.”

“We had rainfall totals for the month ranging as high as 7.32 inches up in Andover, Sussex County and as little as .86 of an inch of rain fell in Winslow in Camden County,” said Robinson. “So, there was over a six inch range in rainfall totals across the state. So, in some areas, the lawns are green, the fields are fine and in some areas, it’s very dry and no doubt affecting lawns, gardens and agriculture.”

“The one storm that affected South Jersey earlier in the summer was very unusual both in size and intensity, but the one that caused damage in the Freehold area in Monmouth County recently was a little more normal for the summer months,” said Robinson. “Severe thunderstorms with localized damage that stay within a community or two are pretty typical for the summer.”