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By Bob Valen 

Defining April "dry"

Weather Watcher


Certainly, California has rewritten the definition for “dry.” Yet, here in Washington (Oregon too) we are beginning to create our own heightened definition too. On the state level, Governor Inslee made more drought declarations on April 17.

More than one half of the state is now listed in one of three categories, starting with abnormally dry here. The other two listings are moderate and severe drought. The Office of the Washington State Climatologist is now posting weekly state drought updates on its website.

Speaking of dry, here’s a statement from the State Climatologist: “Some of the driest places actually came close to setting records for the driest April. Yakima, for example, recorded only a “trace” of precipitation for the month, tying with 1985, 1968, 1966, and 1956 as the driest April on record.”

How did we fair here in the Grand Coulee area? Here at the home weather station we received 0.24 inches of precipitation for the month of April. The mean average for April is .83 inches, whereas the all-time record was in 1993 at 2.19 inches.

Temperatures were interesting. We had a high of 78.5°F on April 28. The mean here at the home weather station was only 50.4°F. The all-time mean is 61.7°F while the all-time high temperature was 92°F way back in 1936. We recorded a low temperature of 28.2°F on April 5.

The prognosis isn’t very good. Here is what the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is stating:

“The seasonal outlook for May is calling for increased chances of above normal temperatures for WA State. West of the Cascade Mountains has the highest odds for warmer than normal temperatures in the state but eastern WA has at least a 50% chance of warmer than normal temperatures with the three class system. The May precipitation outlook is calling for increased chances of below normal precipitation for the western two-thirds of WA State. The eastern third has equal chances of above, equal to, or below normal May precipitation. The May-June-July (MJJ) CPC outlook is very similar to the May outlook for temperatures: there are increased chances, especially west of the Cascades for warmer than normal temperatures for the three month period. For precipitation, there are equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal precipitation statewide.”

Let’s lift our heads skyward now. We had a full moon on May 3. The next full moon will be on June 2. There are five planets visible in the night sky currently, though one, Mars, is fading into sunsets now. Venus, rather brilliant, is in west from dusk until late evening. As mentioned, Mars is now almost gone in the glare of sunset. Jupiter can be seen from dusk until late night, Saturn from nightfall until dawn, and Mercury at dusk and setting around nightfall.

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