September a dry, smoky month

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WALLA WALLA — The theme song for September? “Smoke gets in your eyes.”

Aided in part by wildfire-caused hazy skies, the month when summer ended and fall began brought in a succession of mild daytime temperatures and more than one cool night.

Only one day, Sept. 19, broke the 90-degree mark with a high of 91, according to the National Weather Service. The coldest night came on Sept. 12 when the mercury dropped to 41 degrees.

Oddly enough, despite the obscured sunlight, the average overall temperature, 67.1 degrees, was actually about one degree warmer than normal for the month. Average highs came in at 81.1 degrees, and average lows stood at 53.4 degrees.

September also continued a long-running lack of rain that began in July. The month finished with only trace precipitation, defined as less than .01 inch, which fell Sept. 15 and Sept. 23. As a result, precipitation was 0.75 inches below normal for the month.

Total precipitation for the year in Walla Walla now stands at 16.01 inches, which is 2.18 inches above normal (thanks to a very wet spring). The total for the 2011-2012 water year, which ended in September, finished at 19.6 inches, a figure 1.25 inches below normal.

The dry spell which has settled in over the area marked its 41st day today, with the last measurable precipitation occurring Aug. 21 when .01 inch fell during an early-morning thunderstorm. Prior to that, there was a 34 day dry spell between July 18 and Aug. 20.

The peak wind gust was 35 mph on Sept. 10 as measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

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