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By Bob Valen 

Wet March and more daylight - Total lunar eclipse next week

Weather Watcher


Last updated 4/9/2014 at 1:12pm

We ushered in a seasonal change on March 21 with equal day and night times. Now, we are gaining more and more daylight as we head into summer. We are gaining roughly three minutes a day. For the month of April, we will gain an hour and 16 minutes of daylight.

Let’s take a look at March and see where the numbers ended. Precipitation was nearly a half inch more than the mean at 1.28 inches, while the mean is 0.88 inches. The record high, set in 2012, was 4.13 inches. We measured 1.4 inches of new snow for March, while the mean is 0.8 inches. The high occurred in 1951 with 9.8 inches. March was a bit warmer too. Our mean for the month was 41.8°F, slightly above the all-time mean of 41.1°F. Low for the month was 18.4°F (all-time low 0°F in 1955) and our monthly high was 60.9°F (all-time high 74°F 1939).

April has produced some big, though rare, wind storms along the Washington coast. Rare as they may be, these gales caused damage and took life. Here is some narrative addressing what happened in April 1962: “…A very intense low pressure system moved near Tatoosh Island and then tracked inland across Southern Vancouver Island. Strong pressure gradients built across Washington and Oregon as the low dove inland. Winds escalated, reaching 45 to 60 mph in gusts across much of the interior, and 50 to 75 mph along the coast north of Coos Bay, with unofficial gusts exceeding 100 mph…Port Angeles was hammered by an intense west flow that set up in the Strait of Juan de Fuca behind the cyclone as it moved into southern British Columbia. In Oregon, farm structures were torn apart, and trees fell wholesale, breaking power and telephone lines, smashing cars and homes. One person was killed in Washington, electrocuted by a fallen power line.” Intense indeed, let’s hope for April showers and then some May flowers!

Mark your calendar for the night of April 14 and 15. We will see a total lunar eclipse here in North America while the moon is full — a special treat indeed. For our time zone, here are the specific times: Partial umbral eclipse begins April 14 at 10:58 p.m. Total eclipse begins 12:07 a.m. on April 15 and the greatest eclipse 12:46 a.m. Total eclipse ends 1:25 a.m. and the Partial eclipse ends 2:33 a.m. Umbral means shadow, a Latin term.

Also in our night sky will be Jupiter and Mars. Both will be visible in the early evening sky. Saturn, Venus and Mercury are all visible in the night sky as well during April. So, five planets and a lunar eclipse all in April. So, get out there and enjoy the sights.


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