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June ushered in our summer dryness

Weather Watcher

Reviewing the past five June’s, June 2014 comes in as the driest. Here at the home weather station we only measured 0.59 inches, while the mean for June is 1.04 inches. Here’s how that ranks going back to 2009: 2013- 1.51 inches, 2012- 3.35 inches, 2011- 0.60 inches, 2010- 2.33 inches, and 2009- 0.93 inches. Temperatures were comparable, though, to these past years. We had a high of 88.1°F (June 23) and a low of 43.7°F (June 16). Only once in the past five years did we break into a high temperature above 90°F in June, which was last year with a 91.9°F. The mean for this year’s June was 66.3°F (all-time mean is 65.5°F).

So far, July has brought about some of that good warm weather that helps to heat up the Coulee. We’ve already had four days this July topping out in the 90°F range. Hope you’re enjoying the warm weather.

As we continue to experience dry weather, we are in drought conditions now; I thought I’d share this July 3rd notification from the Office of the Washington State Climatologist: “The latest USDA Crop Bulletin reports that below average yields are expected, especially in Lincoln and Whitman Counties. The US Department of Agriculture has designated Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Adams, Grant, Chelan, Douglas, Lincoln, and Okanogan Counties as primary disaster areas due to the dryness, making residents of those and adjacent counties eligible for emergency aid. It is worth reiterating that the rebound in snowpack during the second half of the winter has put irrigated crops in much better shape than the dry land crops, and that the USDA Crop Bulletin had positive reports in that regard.”

Recently, folks at the National Weather Service Office in Spokane spotted some rare clouds that are generally seen only this time of year and at our latitude. They are called night clouds or noctilucent clouds. These clouds form at altitudes of 250,000 feet and higher. That is the mesosphere layer of our atmosphere. Here’s a brief explanation about these unique clouds. Noctilucent roughly means night shining, in Latin. They are most commonly observed in the summer months at latitudes between 50° and 70° north and south of the equator. They can only be observed when the Sun is below the horizon. They are made of crystals of water ice. They can appear as featureless bands, but frequently show distinctive patterns such as streaks, wave-like undulations, and whirls. If you see these unique clouds, photograph them, they are rare.


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