September 15, 2011 in Washington Voices

Dry and warm through end of month

RandyMann
 

The dry and warm weather pattern continues to hold on across the Inland Northwest. After one of the coolest and wettest springs in history, conditions flipped to the other side in August and early September.

In Spokane .57 inches of rain fell, compared to the normal of 1.38 inches in June.

July was below normal temperatures with a mean reading of 66.7 degrees. That was 1.9 degrees below the average. Rainfall was .53 inches, compared to a normal of .76 inches.

Temperatures finally turned around last month as August’s average reading was 70.8 degrees, 1.5 degrees above normal. It was also dry, as only .23 inches of rain fell at the airport, compared to a normal of .59 inches. Despite the drier-than-normal summer, precipitation figures are still above average levels for the season with 11.79 inches of rain and melted snow. The normal is about 10.40 inches.

In terms of 90-degree days, it looks like the final total for Spokane will be 15. There were only three days of 90 readings in July. The first one came on July 6. In August, there were six days. September has also had six days with readings in the 90s. The hottest afternoon was Aug. 28, with a high of 94 at the airport.

We’re still in between the La Niña, the cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperature, and El Niño, the warmer-than-normal sea-surface temperature, in the south-central Pacific Ocean. Over the last four to six weeks, there were hints of a new El Niño. The recent data may be starting to lean toward the rebirth of La Niña as ocean temperatures along the South American coastline and the equatorial regions continue to cool down. It’s been a back-and-forth pattern over the past few months, but we should start to get a good idea of where the sea-surface temperatures are going around mid- to late October.

In the near term, conditions should remain drier and a bit warmer than normal for the rest of September, despite the cooling late this week. I do expect to see some moisture fall in our region toward the end of this month into early October. The fall is expected to be drier and milder than average, especially if sea-surface temperatures don’t change much in the next several months.

Contact meteorologist Randy Mann at randy@longrange weather.com.


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