March: the month the rain finally showed up

Rainfall was above normal for the first time in many months.

March weather, by the numbers.

March weather, by the numbers. National Weather Service graphic

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WALLA WALLA — March mostly lived up to its reputation of “in like a lion, out like a lamb,” provided you don’t mind a somewhat soggy lamb.

The start of spring brought generous rains that totaled 3.03 inches at the end of the month, a mark about three-quarters of an inch above normal.

A drying trend

March was the first above-normal month for precipitation since last September. Here’s the totals for the past six months:

September — 1.87 inches (1.12 inches above normal)

October — 0.33 inches (1.35 inches below normal)

November — 1.70 inches (1.17 inches below normal)

December — 1.06 inchess (1.41 inches below normal)

January — 0.95 inches (1.58 inches below normal)

Febuary — 1.31 inches (0.45 inches below normal)

March — 3.03 inches (0.73 inches above normal)

The rainfall was also the first above-average precipitation since last September.

But one wet March wasn’t enough to reverse the below-normal numbers being posted the past few months.

Rain and snowfall this year now total 5.29 inches, a mark 1.30 inches below average and since October, the start of the water year, precipitation now totals 8.38 inches, which is 5.23 inches below normal.

In terms of temperature, March delivered both icy nights and the first promise of warmer weather.

The coldest night came on Feb. 2 when the mercury dropped to 24 degrees while the highest high was 69 degrees on Feb. 15.

Overall high temperatures averaged about 57 degrees, which was 2.3 degrees above average and lows averaged about 38 degrees, only slightly above normal.

There were five nights when lows dropped below freezing and one day, Feb. 2, when the daytime high stayed below 32 degrees.

The highest wind gust was 50 mph on March 5 as recorded at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

Forecasters at the federal Climate Prediction Center predict April will bring back more normal weather patterns with temperatures and rainfall both staying near average.

Normal highs for Walla Walla rise from 60 degrees at the start of the month to 66 degrees at the start of May and normal lows rise from 40 degrees to 44 degrees at the end of the month.

Normal rainfall for April is 1.92 inches based on a 30-year average.

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

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