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By Bob Valen 

A wet July brought damaging storms

Weather Watcher


Scott Hunter photo

Storm clouds that blustered the region July 20 look ominous even as the storm dissipates over Grand Coulee that day.

We were visited by quite a nice line of thunderstorms on July 20. I watched these storms approach from the south that afternoon on the Spokane National Weather Service radar on their website. The storms were impressive as were the speeds they travelled. Here at the home weather station we ended up with a half inch of rain and a 40 mph wind gust in just over an hour. Extensive damage occurred here in our communities and many of you heard that North Central Washington was hit hard by those storms. Ferry County was declared a Disaster Area by the Governor. To our north, Omak received over 400 percent of their normal rainfall in July and experienced flooding in the downtown. The high amount of rainfall was caused by a number of thunderstorms.

July was a “wet” month. We recorded 1.08 inches here at the home weather station. Mean precipitation for our area in July is just below a half inch at 0.48 inches. The past three years we recorded the following: 2009 - 0.58 inches; 2010 - 0.20 inches and 2011 - 0.19 inches.

Mean temperature for this area in July is 73°F with an average maximum of 87.6°F. The record high was in 1939 at 113°F. Last month brought a mean of 73.7°F compared to the following over the past three years: 75.8°F (2009), 73.3°F (2010) and 68.8°F (2011). Here at home, we recorded a maximum temperature of 98.7°F (2009 – 98.8°F, 2010 – 97.6°F and 2011 – 92.5°F).

We are almost half way into August and haven’t seen the 100°F mark this summer. We still have some summer to go so it could still happen -- keep watching those temperature gauges. August is our second hottest month with an average maximum temperature of 86.3°F. It’s also another dry summer month with a mean rainfall of only 0.43 inches. So far this month I’ve recorded no rain here at home.

We are in fire season. I mentioned last year the great Northwest Wildfires of 1910 and the changes that occurred in wildland firefighting as a result. I would like to share the facts here again: Three million acres of timber were scorched, the conflagration created its own weather. Ships in the Pacific Ocean were lost in the smoke, which also reached the Atlantic seaboard. The fires claimed 85 lives; 72 of them firefighters.

I think it appropriate to congratulate all the folks who had a role in the recent landing of the Mars Science Rover Curiosity. Wow, what a feat indeed!

Saturn and Mars are close together in August. In fact, from about Aug. 7 to 20 they lie within a 5-degree circle that also includes magnitude 1.0 Spica. Spica is a blue giant star and about four times hotter than our own star, the Sun. I hope you saw the Perseids Meteor Shower which peaked on Saturday night late. If you didn’t see the showers, mark your calendar for next year!

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