NASELLE - The local weather continued to be very dry for the fifth month in succession as September closed with 2.88 inches of rainfall as measured at the Naselle Fish Hatchery.

The five-month-long dry spell began with a May rainfall of 2.65 inches and continued through the three normally dry months of June-July-August with only 2.57 inches during those summer months.

With September continuing the pattern, there were only 8.10 inches of rain since May 1. That is a new record for those five months in records kept at the hatchery, with 1980 being the first complete year of record-keeping. The months of May through September of 1998 held the previous 5-month record with 8.12 inches.

As dry as it has been this year, however, the three-month span of July, August, and September 1998 holds the dryness record of only 1.86 inches.

Before one gets any more tangled up in these (lack of) rainfall numbers, one can rest assured that it has been very dry, far below the average for the months in question, but not for the year. The yearly total through September stands at 68.82 inches, slightly more than the average of 67.05 inches for that nine-month period.

The rainfall year, since October 1, 2002, reached 101.66 inches, almost 10 inches behind the October through September rainfall year average of 111.12 inches. A relatively dry autumn of 2002 accounted for much of that difference.

September began with six days with no rainfall, extending the rainless days streak, except for two days with a trace, to 31 straight days. That streak was finally stopped by six straight days of rain when most of the month's rainfall occurred. There were nine days with measurable precipitation, plus one day with a trace, during the month.

However, the rain turned off for the last days of the month which saw 10 straight dry days, until a trace was recorded on the morning of the last day of the month.

The temperature readings mirrored the rainfall pattern. There were two very hot days, 97 on Sept. 3 and 98 on Sept. 28. The 98 degree reading was the hottest day of the year with the 97 tying the previous high, set in June. There were seven days with highs in the 80s and eight days with highs in the 70s. The nightly lows dipped as low as 38 on two nights at mid-month.

With the dry conditions continuing into the normally wet fall months, it still may be necessary to keep watering those late summer and fall flowers.

You had better keep the watering can handy, Peggy.

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