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By Bob Valen 

Hot, dry June breaks records

Weather Watcher


June was dry, indeed, and hot, too. Let’s start with a look at the temperatures first.

The mean June temperature is 65.5°F, while here at the home weather station we had a mean of 74.9°F, a whopping 9.4°F increase. The all-time high temperature for June was 105°F back in 1938. I recorded two days, June 27 and 28 with highs over 107°F (107.1 and 107.9 respectively). Six new single high-temperature days were recorded at the “official” weather station for Grand Coulee for June, 8, 9 and 10 and 27, 28 and 29.

The home weather station recorded just 0.04 inches of precipitation for the month of June, which was the all-time low precipitation for the month recorded in 2003. The mean for the month is 1.04 inches, and the all-time high was 4.29 inches in 1937. As of this writing, July is proving to be as stingy with precipitation as June was, though that may change.

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is showing an 8-14 day outlook with above normal chance of precipitation for the Northwest. For harvest, not real good, though for slowing the spread of wildfire it could be fine. Let’s watch for the remainder of the month to see just how this rather broad prediction pans out.

Speaking of wildfire, there are a few websites that I watch and all provide good information about fire location, size and so on. The first, and it’s the national site, is the National Interagency Fire Center or NIFC at You can find a lot of information using the menu buttons. Next is the Northwest Interagency Command Center or NWCC at This website addresses the Northwest specifically. Lastly, I use the inciweb at This site covers the whole nation, as well. It’s currently showing 12 active large fires in Washington state.

One thing to remember when using these sites: the information found on them has to be generated and submitted at the field level before it appears online. Sometimes it takes a bit of time for the data to be generated and entered — be patient.

Turning or attention skyward, something exciting is happening in our Solar System as I write this. Back in January 2006 a spacecraft was launched called New Horizons. Well, on Tuesday morning, July 14, New Horizons flew by Pluto, its mission planet, which is way out on the edge of our Solar System — 3.6 billion miles for us here on earth. I hope you watched the special programs news on television or followed the social media on the Internet and saw what New Horizons provided to us about Pluto.

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