NASELLE - Compared to the November weather, December wasn't half bad - at least as far as rainfall goes.

The month's total rainfall, as measured at the Naselle Hatchery, was 18.53 inches. And that folks, is only .05 of an inch above the 27-year average for the month, believe it or not! With the last two months of inclement weather, including hail, snow, thunder, lightning, wind and rain, it certainly seems like December must have been another record setter. It was and it wasn't. The windiest day of 2006, as recorded at the somewhat sheltered location of Sotka's Eden Valley Ranch, was 72 mph set on a day in mid-December.

The month saw periods of relative dryness intermixed with stretches of absolute downpours. In fact two periods of time, one five days in duration and the other seven days in length, produced 90 percent of the month's rainfall. The five-day span, between the Dec. 11 and the 16, saw 8.88 inches recorded at the hatchery. The month's highest 24-hour rainfall of 3.30 inches was recorded on the Dec. 11. For the seven days from Dec. 21 through the 27, 7.82 inches was collected in the hatchery's rain gauge. For the other 19 days of the month, only 1.83 inches fell and that 19-day span of time included 10 days with no recorded moisture. Unfortunately, those dry days did not occur over Christmas, although only 0.19 of an inch dampened Christmas Eve and Christmas Day morning.

December was a rather warm month with a high of 56 recorded on two days plus eight days with a high of 55, all around the middle of the month. The high temperature dropped into the mid-40s and low 50s as the month progressed. The low temperature dropped below freezing on 11 nights with a monthly low of 26 recorded on four nights near the end of the month.

The year 2006 bowed out with a yearly rainfall total of 126.65 inches. That total is above the yearly average but well below the yearly record rainfall. That record was set in 1999 at 144.35 inches. The lowest yearly rainfall recorded in the last 27 years was 75.27 inches in 1985. A year ago, the measurement came in at 103.46 inches.

A customary fact about this year's copious rainfall was that most of it (70.5 percent) came in the winter month of last January and this November and December. All nine of the other months in the year were abnormally dry and saw the rainfall measure below the monthly average for each of those months and produce only 29.5 percent of the year's total rainfall.

Some "highs" for the year 2006 include: Hottest day - May 15 at 96 degrees; coldest day - Feb. 19 at 16 degrees; wettest day - Jan 29 with 5.85 inches of rainfall; windiest day - Dec 15 with winds of 72 mph.

The first few days of 2007 have already given us a preview of what to expect in the coming days and weeks. And it's not necessarily nice, folks, as rain and wind have already set a pattern. That pattern threatens to change into colder weather with the "s" word possibly a few days away. Oh well, that's part of why we live here, isn't it?

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