Answering the Complaints

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There has been a lot of griping about the weather this summer, with a number of you asking whether lousy summers are the new normal.

Well, let me try to convince you that this summer is really better than last summer....

Let's begin with comparing the temperatures at Sea-Tac for the past four weeks with those of last summer.  The first image is this summer and the second, 2011 (reminder the continuous red and blue lines the slope upward to the right are the average max and min).
For this year, we had 15 days whose high reached at or above the average high during the past four weeks.  And 13 days that dropped to our below the average min.  Warm period in early July.  Some cool days lately.  OK, nothing to rave about.
But then we have 2011.  Folks this is really bad.  Only 7 days reaching the average max.  Weeks of cool temperatures at the end of the month. 19 days hitting the average min or below. 
 But what you may not know is that eastern Washington has had a much better summer, with exception of the many thunderstorms.  Here are the Pasco temps for last year for the same period.  Very few days got to their normal high and MANY days dropped well below the normal minima.  Not good for our vineyards!
But take a look at this year.  MUCH better.  Many days reached the normal max and for fewer nights were cool.  A very normal year.
 Take a look at the temperature departure for average over the western U.S. (graphic below).  A bit cooler than normal west of the Cascade crest and down into western Oregon and all of CA.  But cross the Cascades and slightly above-normal temperatures beckon.  Why Lake Chelan and other resort areas in eastern WA aren't taking out full page ads in the papers, I can't figure.  East of the Rockies, torrid and dry.

Well, perhaps this is why tourism is not booming in Moses Lake.  Here is the percentage of average rainfall for the past month. Western Washington and NW Oregon have gotten around 150% of normal, but the east side has received 200-400+% of normal. The reason..the thunderstorms.  And I mean a lot of them.

With plenty of rainfall, a great snowpack for water supply, normal temperatures, and lack of killing spring frosts, our agricultural friends in eastern Washington should have some very good harvests.  Which is fortunate considering the negative impacts of drought and heat over much of the nation.

And remember, last summer, as cold as it was during the first half, was quite warm at the end...warm enough that I had a bumper crop of tomatoes! 


Gov. Chris Gregoire on Monday proclaimed a state of emergency for 16 Washington counties hit by last week's thunderstorms.
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