Wet May breaks long dry spell in Walla Walla

The month was the first since November with at least typical amounts of rain.

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May Weather

WALLA WALLA -- May ended six months of below-par precipitation in a big way.

Aided by three big rains and numerous smaller storms, the month finished with 2.40 inches of precipitation, a mark nearly one-half inch above normal.

It was the first time since November a month finished without below-normal precipitation, according to National Weather Service records. But the surplus didn't erase the overall deficit in the year's total, which now stands at 7.92 inches, a mark 2.28 inches below normal.

The total for the water year, which runs from October through September, also remains below normal at 13.21 inches, 4.21 inches below average.

The heaviest rainfall of the month came May 27, when nearly three-quarters of an inch fell. Two earlier downpours May 18-19 contributed .57 inches and .47 inches respectively.

Along with being wet, May was cooler than usual. Daytime highs averaged 66 degrees, six degrees below normal, and nighttime lows averaged about 46 degrees, just under 2 degrees below normal. The warmest day was 84 degrees May 15 and the coolest night 37 degrees May 6.

The highest wind gust was 56 mph May 19.

The wet weather, which has continued into this month, has made some inroads into the cherry crop growing around Milton-Freewater, said Clive Kaiser, Umatilla County extension agent.

"Currently the fruit cracking in the untreated Bing fruit is between 10 and 15 percent," Kaiser said in an e-mail last week. "The El Nino effect has certainly made the Valley wet this year."

Normally the Bing cherry harvest begins around July 1, Kaiser said, but this year it may be a bit later. The Rainier cherry harvest usually starts about a week later.

Summer weather, at least in terms of temperature, should finally start to arrive this month with near-normal temperatures, which are about 80 degrees during the day and about 54 degrees at night based on a 30-year average.

Precipitation, however, is expected to continue to be above normal, according to the federal Climate Predication Center. Normal rainfall for June, based on a 30-year average, is 1.15 inches.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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