Ups and downs mark transition to autumn

September marked the end of a water year that was 4.52 inches short of normal.

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WALLA WALLA -- Summer and fall mixed it up last month.

Temperatures started warm, then cooled down, then warmed back up again. Rains blew in, then blew out. About the only thing that could be counted on were the days getting shorter and nights longer.

The hottest day of the month came at the end when the mercury peaked at 87 degrees Sept. 28. The coolest night was on Sept. 11 when thermometers dropped to 45 degrees. Overall the average temperature, about 66 degrees, was only barely below normal, according to the National Weather Service.

Although the month started and ended dry, the rainfall clocked in above-average thanks to a storm system on Sept. 18-19 that delivered gusty winds and a healthy .81 inches of precipitation. Combined with smaller amounts that fell on six other days, September's total rainfall came to .95 inches, which was .12 inches above normal.

The amount brought total precipitation for the calendar year to 11.07 inches, a mark 2.68 inches below normal. For the water year, which runs from October through September, the total was 16.36 inches, an amount 4.52 inches below normal, according to weather service records.

The highest wind gust was 31 mph on Sept. 19 as measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

The outlook for this month from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center calls for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. Normal highs for Walla Walla during October are 65.8 degrees and normal lows are 43.6 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 1.77 inches.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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