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By Bob Valen 

A predicted drier summer

Weather Watcher


This past May brought us our third consecutive year with a below mean temperature for our region of Washington state. The mean for May is 58.5°F. Here is what I’ve recorded at the home weather station over that past four years. 59.4°F (2009), 54.3°F (2010), 54.5°F (2011) and 57.3°F (2012). We almost cracked the 90-degree mark on May 15th with an 89.3°F. That was only one of three days at 80 degrees or above. Precipitation has been all over the chart. This year I ended the month with only 0.28 inches, while the three past years were - 3.34 inches (2011), 2.41 inches (2010), and 0.88 inches (2009).

Well, we are rolling into June our third hottest month of the year. Here’s what we can expect for June according to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), “The CPC three-class summer (June-July-August JJA) temperature outlook has equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal temperatures for the entire state. The JJA precipitation outlook shifts the odds toward a drier-than-normal, three-month period, however. There is at least a 33 pecent chance of below-normal precipitation statewide, with chances exceeding 40 percent for eastern Washington State.” The CPC goes on to state that the eastern side of the state will likely see above-normal temperatures for the three class period of July-August-September ( JAS). It’s their prediction, not mine – I’m just a weather hobbyist!

If you were around in 1948, you may recall the heavy spring flooding that occurred from May into June in the Northwest especially along the Columbia River. There was widespread flooding in northern Idaho, eastern Washington and along the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River below Priest Rapids hit a flood record of 458.65 feet well above the flood stage of 432.0 feet.

We local amateur astronomers got beat out by overcast and rainy weather for the Annular Eclipse of the Sun that occurred on May 20th. Not to despair though, there were two more events to watch in early June. The partial eclipse of the Moon on Monday, June 4 and of course the big event on Tuesday, June 5, the transit of Venus between Earth and the Sun. Well, our ever present “friend” the weather got us again, and no viewing the partial eclipse of the Moon or the transit of Venus – bummer! All is well though, as we’ll have some meteor showers later this summer and many clear nights for good sky viewing, too.

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