High and dry (or low and wet) ...

How did the Climate Prediction Center do this year? It's a mixed bag.

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As the year winds down, a look back shows an up-and-down track record for weather predictions by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center

WALLA WALLA -- Each month NOAA's Climate Prediction Center issues a temperature and precipitation outlook for the Walla Walla area. So how have the predictions stacked up against reality?

Well, as the following shows, the crystal ball was sometimes a little cloudy (pun intended).

As December draws to a close, the score stands at four correct predictions, five blown calls and three half-right, half-wrong forecasts.

Some of the weather surprises this year were a warmer than normal January, a cool and wet spring (especially in May) and the first summer in many years without a single 100-degree day.

The spring weather was especially vexing for local growers, especially wheat farmers.

Cool, wet conditions delayed the start of harvest and led to an outbreak of stripe rust. But the generous rains also boosted yields to well above average in many areas.

Well, as the saying goes: "Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get."

Here's the rundown:

JANUARY

Prediction: Near normal temperatures, near normal precipitation. Normal highs are 40.6 degrees, normal lows 28.7 degrees. Normal precipitation is 2.25 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 3 degrees above normal and precipitation was 0.87 below average. (BOTH OFF)

FEBRUARY

Prediction: Below normal temperatures, above normal precipitation. Normal highs are 46.9 degrees, normal lows 32.4 degrees. Normal precipitation is 1.97 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 1.3 degrees below normal, but precipitation was 0.35 below average. (HALF RIGHT)

MARCH

Prediction: Below normal temperatures, above-normal precipitation. Normal highs rise from 53.4 degrees at start of month to 58 degrees, normal lows rise from 35.8 degrees to 37.9 degrees. Normal precipitation is 2.20 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 0.4 degrees above normal, but precipitation was 0.60 inches above average. (HALF RIGHT)

APRIL

Prediction: Below normal temperatures, above normal precipitation. Normal highs rise from 62 degrees at start of month to 66.1 degrees, normal lows rise from 39.9 degrees to 42.5 degrees. Normal precipitation is 1.83 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 5.3 degrees below normal and precipitation was 0.26 inches above average. (DEAD ON)

MAY

Prediction: Below normal temperatures, above normal precipitation. Normal highs rise from 69.9 degrees at start of month to 73.6 degrees, normal lows rise from 45.9 degrees to 49.2 degrees. Normal precipitation is 1.95 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 3.8 degrees below normal and precipitation was 2.12 inches above average. (DEAD ON)

JUNE

Prediction: Below normal temperatures, above normal precipitation. Normal highs rise from 77.7 degrees at start of month to 82.7 degrees, normal lows rise from 52.2 degrees at start of month to 56.1 degrees. Normal precipitation is 1.15 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 3.3 degrees below normal and precipitation was 0.37 inches above average. (DEAD ON)

JULY

Prediction: Near normal temperatures, near normal precipitation. Normal highs are 89.9 degrees, normal lows are 60.5 degrees. Normal precipitation is 0.73 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 3.8 degrees below normal and precipitation was 0.50 inches below average. (BOTH OFF)

AUGUST

Prediction: Near normal temperatures, near normal precipitation. Normal highs are 89.1 degrees, normal lows are 61 degrees. Normal precipitation is 0.84 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 1.7 degrees above normal and precipitation was 0.52 inches below average. (BOTH OFF)

SEPTEMBER

Prediction: Above-normal temperatures, below normal precipitation. Normal highs fall from 80.9 degrees at the start of the month to 75 degrees. Normal lows fall from 54.9 degrees to 50.3 degrees. Normal precipitation is 0.75 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 4.6 degrees above normal and precipitation was 0.72 inches below average. (DEAD ON)

OCTOBER

Prediction: Below normal temperatures, above normal precipitation. Normal highs fall from 67.7 degrees at the start of the month to 59.8 degrees. Normal lows fall from 45.4 degrees to 41 degrees. Normal precipitation is 1.68 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 1.4 degrees above normal and precipitation was 0.31 inches below average. (BOTH OFF)

NOVEMBER

Prediction: Near normal temperatures, above normal precipitation. Normal highs fall from 56 degrees at start of month to 42 degrees, normal lows fall from 39 degrees to 31 degrees. Normal precipitation is 2.87 inches.

What actually happened: Average temps were 1.3 degrees above normal and precipitation was 1.87 inches below average. (BOTH OFF)

DECEMBER

Prediction: Below normal temperatures and near normal to above normal precipitation. Normal highs fall from 42.1 degrees at start of month to 39.6 degrees, normal lows fall from 30.2 degrees to 28.1 degrees. Normal precipitation is 2.47 inches.

What actually happened (so far): Average temps as of today (Dec. 22) have been 2.9 degrees below normal and precipitation is 1.72 inches below average. (HALF RIGHT)

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