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By Bob Valen 

May fair weather

Weather Watcher


April brought us a wide spread of temperatures here at the home weather station. I recorded a low of 27.3°F (April 1) and a high of 84.6°F (April 23) for a spread of 57.3°F. Precipitation for April was 1.08 inches, with the heaviest rainfall on the 26th. Mean precipitation for April is 0.82 inches, putting us about 0.2 inches above.

We’re seeing a grand entrance of spring weather in May. Fanciful flowers blooming and busy birds nesting. May does bring some warm temperatures. Back in 1986 we had a high reading of 100°F, though the average maximum is 71.2°F and the mean is 58.5°F. Mean precipitation is 1.08 inches, though in 1980 a recorded high of 3.32 inches occurred, and the area saw a one-day high of 1.35 inches in 1941. For spring and summer months, May is our wettest.

Snow pack for the state of Washington is looking good. Here is what the Washington State Climatologist’s May Report said: “The Olympic and Central Puget Sound basins still have much above normal snowpack with 167 and 169 percent of normal, respectively. The North Puget Sound, South Puget Sound, Lower Columbia, Lower Yakima, Upper Yakima, Central Columbia, and Upper Columbia all have above normal SWE (113 to 143 percent of average). In far eastern Washington, the Lower Snake and Spokane basins are near-normal, with 96 and 107 percent of normal, respectively.” Note: SWE means “Snow Water Equivalent.”

For those of you who were around in 1980, May 18 is the 32nd Anniversary of Mount St. Helens’ eruption. Ash fell like snow with accumulations of 2 or more feet in some locations. Roads, highways and just about everything else were closed. Sadly, over 60 people lost their lives in that major geological event and subsequent mud flow.

Some of us in the community are planning to observe the Annular Solar Eclipse on May 20. Unfortunately, we won’t see the full eclipse in our Grand Coulee location, just a partial eclipse. If, by chance, you are traveling in the Southwest United States, Utah, Arizona or New Mexico, you will have a greater observation opportunity, using the proper viewing equipment of course. Continue to watch for a very bright Venus in the western sky after sunset. By months end, it will start setting at dusk. May 22 and 23 will be the last time we will see Venus and the Moon pair up in the evening sky for a while.

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