Believe it or not: July precipitation was ABOVE normal.
The average precipitation in Ashland for July is somewhere between 0.3″ and 0.4″, depending on where it is measured and which set of years is used for the average.
Precipitation measured at the official NWS recording station at the wastewater treatment plant at 1729′ for this July was .51″.
Precipitation measured at my station at 2400′ on the southside of town for this July was .89″.
Depending on the input, Ashland precipitation was between 27% and 196% above normal, or 127% and 296% of normal.
Those numbers and prepositions demonstrate a basic rule of statistics: without a clear understanding of the input data, the way that data is compiled and derived, and the presentation of the conclusions, it can be very difficult to evaluate the significance of any statistic.
Of one thing there is no doubt: the heat wave from July 24 to July 31 was one of the most severe in memory. During the last 13 days of the month, the daily high temperature exceeded 97°F for all but two days. July 29 may have been the highest temperature recorded in Ashland since record keeping began in 1892. I recorded 114.8°F that day. The overnight low the following night of 78.1°F was also notably high.
The average daily high temp in Ashland in July is 86-87°F. My recorded average high for the month was 92.9°F.