WALLA WALLA -- The shortest month of the year was also short on water.
February closed out well below normal for precipitation with only .68 inches, a mark 1.29 inches below what was expected. Overall, the month had only nine days with measurable rainfall, defined as at least a tenth of an inch, and 19 days with only trace or zero amounts. The heaviest rainfall was Feb. 5, when .15 inches were measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport.
The below-par precipitation left the year-to-date total at 2.62 inches which is 1.6 inches below normal, according to the National Weather Service. The total for the water year, which runs from October 2009 through September of this year, is now 7.91 inches, a mark 3.44 inches below normal.
Spring also continued to put in an early appearance with days warming up into the 50s on 13 occasions and reaching a peak of 60 degrees Friday and Saturday. On the flip side, temperatures went below freezing on only six nights with the low mark of 25 degrees occurring Feb. 21 during a five-day cold snap.
Overall the above-normal temperature trend which started in January continued with the average of 41.4 degrees being 6.7 degrees above normal, the weather service reported.
The month also its share of windy days with the strongest gust of 49 mph recorded on Saturday at the airport.
The outlook for March according to the national Climate Prediction Center calls for above-normal temperatures and near to below-normal precipitation.
Normal highs for Walla Walla during March are 56 degrees and normal lows are about 37 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 2.2 inches.
Andy Porter can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.