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By Bob Valen 

May sets the stage for summer weather

Weather Watcher


When we think of or talk about the weather, there are times when a weather crystal ball would be really valued. Now that we are moving into the traditional months of summer – June, July and August, – I would like one of those magical weather crystal balls. I wonder if Costco stocks them; probably in bulk, quantity of four!

Looking over the Climate Prediction Center's (CPC) three-month prediction, here's what they are saying: "The CPC three-class summer (June-July-August) temperature outlook has increased chances of above-normal temperatures for the entire state, with chances exceeding 50% on the three-tiered scale for most of the state. There is not much indication of how precipitation will turn out for June-July-August. The CPC outlook has equal chances of below, equal-to, or above-normal precipitation for the entire state."

More than half of Washington state, mostly the western half, is now listed as D0-Abnormally Dry. Regionally, most of Okanogan County falls into that category. Looking to our neighbors to the south, about three quarters of Oregon is listed as D0 or D1-Moderate Drought. Further south, California is still facing drought issues. There is one small section of the state that is not; the three counties in the Northwest corner are drought- free, currently. The problematic region is the area that is east of San Francisco, across to Lake Tahoe and then south. That region of California is facing severe to exceptional, (D2 through D4) drought conditions.

Well, how did May shakeout weather-wise for our spot of Washington? Precipitation was on the light side. I measured only 0.60 inches of rain. This is well below the mean of 1.10 inches for the month of May. A high of 3.34 inches fell in 1980 and a record one-day rainfall of 1.35 inches occurred in May 1941. The heat started to crank up a bit in May. We had seven days over the 80˚F mark. I measured a month high of 87˚F on May 7. The all-time high temperature for May was 100˚F back in 1986. The low temperature here at the home weather station was 37.5˚F on May 19. The all time low for May was 21˚F in 2002. Our mean for this May was 61.9˚F, slightly higher than the all-time mean of 58.4˚F.

June 20 will bring a full moon to light up our evening sky. Our friends at EarthSky are saying this about our evening sky for the month of June: "Three planets – Jupiter, Mars and Saturn – pop out as darkness falls in June 2016. Jupiter, the brightest of the bunch, is found in the western half of the sky and lights up the night until midnight or later. Mars, only a touch fainter than Jupiter, shines above Saturn in the southeast sky at nightfall."

Hopefully, you have noticed the weekly weather forecast now appearing in The Star newspaper. I use three sources to develop that information. Like all forecasts, they are continuously updated. Unfortunately, once our weekly forecast is in print, it likely has been updated; the forecasting dilemma. Also, you can follow Grand Coulee Area Weather on Facebook and the community weather website, which is updated regularly at

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