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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Bob Valen 

Dry September ushers in wet October


This time of year we witness one of the two annual equinoxes. We recently passed through September or Autumn Equinox. Sept. 22 marked the moment the Sun crossed the celestial equator. Now, we are fast on our way to Winter or December Solstice, occurring on Dec. 21.

For those of you not familiar with weather lore, here’s one based on October: “Much rain in October, much wind in December.” Some may agree, while others may say, “wonderful saying.” I haven’t done any research to confirm or deny the accuracy of this, and I don’t think I will.

Looking at the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for the next few months, they show equal chances for above- or below-normal temperatures. Also, they show we are on the edge of a 30-percent chance of above-normal precipitation. That chance continues as I looked beyond just a few months. May be a great time to place wagers on when we will see our first snowfall!

Currently, the majority of the state is in drought conditions. We are in D0 - Abnormally Dry. Three regions of Washington State are in D1 – Moderate Drought, both the southwest and the southeast regions, along with western Whatcom County.

I found the following quote in a recent Washington State Climatologist newsletter and want to share with you.

“The year of 1954 had the coolest summer (June through August) for WA in the observational record going back to 1895. The statewide average temperature anomaly was -3.4°F compared to the 1901-2000 normal. The summer of 1954 also brought a prolonged and intense heat wave to the Midwest region of the United States.”

This quote is part of a larger discussion about atmospheric anomalies and how they affect weather in one region, while another, a thousand miles or more away, could be the opposite. The Midwest summer of 1954 experienced really hot temperatures.

Here are the results for our September weather, as recorded at my home weather station. High temperature was 86.1˚F recorded on the 26th. The low temperature was 37.9˚F on the 19th. The all-time high was 104˚F back in 1938. The all-time low as 30˚F in 1970. Our mean for the month was 61.7˚F. The mean was 2.1˚F lower than the all-time mean of 63.8˚F. Precipitation was 0.34 inches. September’s all-time mean of 0.49 inches. At least we had an improvement over August, which was dry with no precipitation.

From our friends at EarthSky, I share this: “Three of the five bright planets appear in the evening sky as darkness falls in October 2016: Venus, Saturn and Mars. One other bright planet — Mercury — appears before dawn early in the moon. Mercury is near the sunrise point and most easily seen from the Northern Hemisphere. Before Mercury disappears in the sun’s glare in about the second week of October, the very bright planet Jupiter will climb away from the sunrise glare and appear right next to Mercury before dawn. Watch for Jupiter to meet Mercury on October 11. Jupiter will be the brighter object, and Mercury will be much tougher to see. Binoculars will help.”

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