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By Bob Valen 

Third consecutive May with little rain

Weather Watcher


Last updated 6/11/2014 at 9:54am

The mean precipitation for May is 1.10 inches, and this year, like 2013 and 2012, we only received a portion of that.

We measured 0.63 inches here at the home weather station (compared to the same in 2013 and just 0.27 inches in 2012). The mean temperature was 60.0°F was 1.6°F higher than mean (all-time mean is 58.4°F). The high for the month was 84.7°F and the low was 38.0°F. The all-time high was 100°F back in 1986, and the all-time low was 21°F in 2002.

There has been discussion about El Nino developing, too. “The model predictions of ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) for this summer and beyond are indicating an increased likelihood of El Niño compared with those from last month (April),” forecasters wrote in an online discussion at the Climate Prediction Center recently.

What that could mean for us in the Northwest, depending on the strength of the El Nino, is generally warmer and drier fall and winter with below-average mountain snowpack. Our snowpack arrived rather late this winter, if El Nino develops, we may not see a decent snowpack next winter. As always, time will help us with reality.

Now that we will likely witness clear sky for a while, let’s take a look at some astronomical events and the planets of our night sky. Five planets will be visible in our night sky in June. Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are up at nightfall in early June. Another planet, Venus, will rise in the east as dawn approaches. Mercury is visible in the western sky just after sunset. Jupiter, Mars and Saturn all come into view just after sunset. Mars and Saturn are visible in the southern sky while Jupiter is in the western sky. A full Moon occurs on June 13.

June 21 will mark Summer Solstice. Today, we don’t see or hear of many events that celebrate the solstice. Historically, there were many events. Wikipedia states: “In many cultures, the solstices and equinoxes traditionally determine the midpoint of the seasons, which can be seen in the celebrations called midsummer and midwinter. The cumulative cooling and warming that result from the tilt of the planet become most pronounced after the solstices, leading to the more recent custom of using them to mark the beginning of summer and winter in most countries of Central and Northern Europe, as well as in Canada, the USA and New Zealand.” After June 21, we will begin to lose daylight each day. So, enjoy these long days while you can.


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