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By Bob Valen 

A wet and warming March

Weather Watcher


Let’s take a look at drought here in the West. California drought conditions have changed somewhat. Unfortunately, the state is still mostly in severe drought. The exception there is the extreme northwest corner that is showing to be drought free. A number of California reservoirs are gaining a good amount of water, as well. Closer, in Oregon, the eastern and south southeastern portions are still in abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions. Here in Washington, just the extreme south central and southeastern corner of the state is showing to be abnormally dry.

This discussion opens the subject of El Niño. This is what is being stated regarding it: “A weakening El Niño continues. Tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures are still much warmer than average, but subsurface temperatures — El Niño’s “heat source” — have declined sharply.” This statement leads me to believe that El Niño will likely be gone by early or mid-summer. Will La Niña appear later? I’ll keep an eye on its development.

Now for our numbers: My home weather station broke the 70˚F mark for the first time this year on the last day of the month, with a high of 70.9˚F. The low for March was 25.8˚F on the 17th. The all-time high was 74˚F back in 1939; all-time low was 0˚F in 1955. The all-time mean for the month is 41.1˚F. I recorded a mean of 44.9˚F for March 2016.

Here at the home weather station, the rain kept falling. We received a total of 2.59 inches in March. That’s not a record. That occurred four years ago, in 2012, when we received 4.13 inches at the official weather station. The mean for March is 0.88 inches. Also, in 2012 we had a one-day rainfall of 1.5 inches.

We’ve had some clear night sky lately, so let’s look skyward and see what is occurring for the month of April. A full moon will occur on April 22. Looking to the night sky, here are the planets to be watching for: Jupiter, rising in the east, will be lighting up the night sky. Mars will be visible in the late evening sky right up to dawn. It will be brighter as the month goes by. Saturn shines brightly near Mars from late evening right up to dawn. Mercury should start appearing later in the month here in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth. Venus sinks closer to the glare of sunrise all month long.

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