WALLA WALLA -- This summer is looking to fade away without a single 100-degree day.
And if it does, it will be the first time in years that's happened.
Although August had plenty of warm weather, the hottest it got was 99 degrees on Aug. 27. This was the first time in 13 years that the hottest months of the year, July and August, have passed without going into the 100-degree range.
A check of weather records by Robert Brooks with the National Weather Service office in Pendleton shows the last time there were no 100-degree days during the summer were the years 1995 through 1998. (Although Brooks noted the records do not reflect if there were any days where the data was missing due to equipment malfunction, so if a 100-degree or hotter day happened on one of those days, it wouldn't show up.)
Prior to that, the only years without 100-degree days were 1957, 1963 and 1966, Brooks said. Two other possible years without triple-digit temperatures were 1969 and 1993 when records from Whitman Mission showed no 100-degree or hotter days. However, the airport records show one day from each year hitting the 100-degree mark, so it is not clear if that's just a discrepancy or an actual difference.
On the average, Walla Walla has seven days per year with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher, Brooks said.
In terms of rainfall, August was definitely an underperformer. The three days with measurable rainfall, at least .01 of an inch, delivered a total of .05 inches which was .52 inches below normal, according to weather service records. The heaviest rainfall, .03 inches, fell on Aug. 5 while there were 28 days with zero or trace precipitation.
(Starting in August, the figures for normal precipitation in this area will be changing because the 30-year period for calculating average rain and snowfall has been shifted from 1971-2000 to 1981-2010, said Dennis Hull, chief meteorologist with the Pendleton NWS office. The previous normal for August had been 0.84 inches.)
The precipitation, or lack of it, brought the year's total rain and snow to 13.76 inches, which thanks to the wetter-than-normal spring is a mark still above the 12.65 inches considered normal. The total for the water year, which ends this month, is now 21.06 inches, a mark that is 1.28 inches above the normal figure of 19.78 inches.
The highest wind gust was 41 mph and occurred on Aug. 28.
The forecast for September according to the federal Climate Prediction Center is for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.
Normal highs for Walla Walla fall from about 81 degrees at the start of this month to 75 degrees at the end. Normal lows fall from about 55 degrees to slightly above 50 degrees by the end of September.
Normal precipitation is 0.75 inches based on a 30-year average from 1981-2010.