How dry it was

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WALLA WALLA — August was one dry month.

Apart from an early-morning thunderstorm on Aug. 21, no measurable rain fell during the month, according to the National Weather Service. The single storm, which dropped only .01 of an inch, broke a 34-day dry spell that started on July 17.

But as recent weather records show, mini-droughts are the rule, not the exception, in July and August. In 2010 the Walla Walla area had a 58-day stretch from July 3 to Aug. 29 with zero or trace precipitation. Another dry spell happened in 2007 when no measurable rain, defined as at least .01 of an inch, fell for 29 days between July 20 and Aug. 18.

Augusts with zero or trace rainfalls aren’t uncommon, said Dennis Hull, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Pendleton.

“There have been Augusts with no measurable rain such as 2000, 1994, 1988, 1974 and a few others in earlier years,” he said.

The lack of rain left the month at .56 inches below normal for precipitation. Total precipitation for the year stands at 16.01 inches, a mark 2.93 inches above average. Precipitation for the water year, which runs from October through the end of September, stands at 19.60 inches, which is one-half inch above normal.

As for temperature, the last full month of summer ran hot and cold. The month’s split personality was showcased by the 53-degree gap between the hottest day, 102 on Aug. 6, and the coldest night, 49 on Aug. 25.

Between the highs and the lows, August finished with an average temperature that was about two degrees above normal, according to the National Weather Service. There were five days when the high peaked at 100 degrees or hotter and another 13 days when the temperature hit 90 or above.

The fastest wind gust during the month was 28 mph on Aug. 28 as measured at the airport.

Summer officially ends Sept. 22 with the autumnal equinox which marks the point when temperatures begin to drop and days start to get shorter than the nights.

Due to the Labor Day holiday, the climate outlook for September was not available today.

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