The Star - News, views and advertising of the Grand Coulee Dam Area

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By Bob Valen 

July was flat out hot

Weather Watcher


Last updated 8/7/2013 at 11:26am

I’m still wiping my brow of perspiration from all that heat. The National Weather Service reported some near- and new-high temperature records throughout the region. Here at the home weather station we had a new record of 102.3°F on July 2. We recorded a total of 18 days at or above the 90°F mark. We didn’t come close to the all-time high of 113°F that occurred in 1939. Our low for the month was on the 13th at 52.9°f.

Precipitation was a measly 0.29 inches, well below the mean of 0.48 inches. The heaviest rain amount fell on 17th at 0.24 inches. As we entered August we got some additional rain that has already exceeded the total for July.

This is an opportune time to talk about heat and how it affects the human body. Working or playing in the heat, it doesn’t matter; one needs to be aware of it and take the needed precautions to prevent the following:

• Heat rash is usually a skin irritation that is a cluster of small pimples.

• Heat cramps are caused by a lowered level of salty body fluids brought on by heavy sweating.

• Heat syncope is fainting or dizziness caused by dehydration or lack of acclimatization.

• Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt, usually caused by excessive sweating. Lastly, we have …

• Heat stroke. It occurs when the body is unable to control its temperature, which rises rapidly. The sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. It could lead to death.

Continuing with the definitions of weather terms, I’d like to address those precipitation percentages we see in forecasts, like “60% chance of precipitation.” The National Weather Service shows percentages based on probable “triggers” that may cause precipitation. The lower the percentage, there are fewer “triggers,” hence, the likelihood of rain or snow is lower. As the percentage increases there are more possible activation points and the chances of receiving more rain or snow becomes higher. Our most recent low pressure system that brought storm activity also carried a considerable account of moisture. Therefore, the stated percentages were considerably higher too. Also, when forecasts are made like one for Grand Coulee, it is inclusive; that is, it covers the nearby environs or region. Temperatures will and do vary within the forecast area.

A full moon will occur on Aug. 21. Watch for the Perseids meteor shower through mid-month. Earth is entering a broad stream of debris from comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the annual Perseids meteor shower. Although the shower won’t peak until August 12-13, when Earth hits the densest part of the stream, the first Perseids are already arriving.


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