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By Bob Valen 

Trend established, warmer than average

Weather Watcher


March continued the trend of warmth we’ve been seeing the past few months, with a mean temperature of 46.6°F, 5.5°F above the March mean. It doesn’t stop there; we had a high temperature of 68.8°F on March 27, only five degrees away from the daily high of 74°F set in 1939.

The low for the month here at the home weather station was 20.5°F on the March 4. All time low temperature was 0°F in 1955. Precipitation was above the mean, as well. We received 1.02 inches of rain, while the mean for the month is 0.88 inches, yielding us two-tenths of an inch above the mean. We’ll take all the rain we can get.

Let’s take a look at the drought status, which is listed as “abnormally dry.” The very recent snowfall over the Cascades has added to the overall snowpack there. Though it is still below average, the numbers are better than they were. About three weeks ago, Governor Inslee declared drought in three regions of the state — the Olympic Peninsula, most of Chelan/Kittitas/Yakima counties on the eastern slopes of the central Cascades, and the Walla Walla region, according to the Washington State Climatologist’s office.

The state climatologist has also provided this from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC): “The seasonal outlook for April is calling for equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal temperatures for a majority of Washington State. The coast and Olympic Peninsula have increased chances of a continuation of the warmer than normal temperatures for April. The April precipitation outlook has equal chances of below normal, equal to, or above normal precipitation statewide. The April-May-June (AMJ) CPC outlook shows higher chances of above normal temperatures statewide, with the highest odds of warmer than normal temperatures in the western half of the state. Precipitation is expected to be below normal for the western two-thirds of the state, while the eastern third has equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal precipitation.” Again, long term predictions are difficult at best.

Scientists at the University of Washington have been tracking, for more than a year, what they are calling a “warm blob” of water off the west coast. They attribute it, in part, to the disruption of the marine ecosystem and our weather patterns. The research is extensive and I don’t have enough room here to address it in depth. If you are interested in reading about the research, contact me and I’ll guide you to the sources.

I hope you saw the early morning lunar eclipse on April 4, it really was a “blood moon.” Let’s look skyward. There are four planets visible in the night sky in April. Venus is seen in the west at dusk until mid-evening and is very bright. Mars is fading and sets soon behind sunset. Jupiter is bright from dusk until late night while Saturn rises at mid-to-late evening. Mercury can be seen at dusk in the second half of April. We had a full moon on April 3 and the next one will occur on May 3.

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