NASELLE - If you thought that your petunias needed more watering than normal this summer, you were right on.

August continued the Northwest's very dry weather pattern as only 0.46 of an inch of rainfall was collected in the rain gauge at the Naselle Hatchery. That meager total, when added to July's total of 0.28 of an inch, produced the driest July/August in the last 24 years of hatchery weather recording with a two month's rainfall total of 0.74 of an inch.

If it wouldn't have been for a downpour of 2.81 inches on June 29, the June through August rainfall total would have been only 2.90 inches, the second lowest total for those three months in the last 24 years. As it was, the 5.71 inches total for the three months is still one of the drier summer totals.

Measurable rainfall was recorded only during two days in August. The lack of rainfall produced a totally dry spell of 15 days at mid month and another stretch of ten straight days of dry weather at the end of the month until a trace of moisture ended that dry spell on Sept. 1

The two days of August rainfall disturbed the dust in the rain bucket just enough to make this August the second driest in the last 24 years. The driest month, in the years that the Hatchery has been keeping rain records, was in August 1998 when only 0.07 of an inch was collected.

The hottest day of the year was on August 13 when the mercury climbed to a blistering 102 degrees. It was a sweltering 94 degrees a day earlier and 82 a day later, one of only three days when the temperature was in the 80s. Other than those five days, the August high temperatures were in the mid-60s and mid-70s - chamber of commerce stuff when everything around us was "hotter than a pepper sprout."

The lowest temperature during the month was 42 recorded on two nights early in the month. There were 17 nights with lows in the 40s, the rest of the month's nightly lows were in the 50 degree range.

There have been 64.47 inches of moisture in the first eight months of the year, somewhat behind the average of 67.30 inches. The rainfall year total - since Oct. 1, 2001 - is 118.97 inches, still ahead of the average of 111.09 inches for that 11 month period.

What's ahead? September is normally our fourth driest month with an average of 3.61 inches. If this September matches the last four years, when the rainfall has ranged from just under the monthly average to well under the average (0.52 of an inch in 1999), the dry spell could well continue into the fall. The area last experienced a wet September in 1997 when a record 10.51 inches filled the rain bucket.

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