Annual Rainfall Comparisons for All Thurston County Precipitation Sites by Water Year
Summer - 2013 - was Dry and Warm
The summer months have been just right - not too hot, not too cold and on the dry side........
But now it is Fall and the switch has been flipped.
The statistics show that the late spring was warmer and drier than normal and this gave an early start to the flowers and plants without the sting of a late frost. The usually wet month of June actually saw the highest recorded temperature of the year so far at 93 degrees on June 30. We also saw significant periods of dry and consistently warm weather without the usual rainy interludes typical of most northwest summers. July broke a rainfall record; but not for the rainfall, rather the lack of it. At the County Courthouse we recorded zero rainfall in July. In 2012, August had zero rainfall. That makes 2 years in a row where we have recorded zero rainfall in any month -and that is a record not seen before since records have been kept for our area (1898).
Finally the groundwater and lake levels have responded to the lack of rain by dropping significantly over the last three months. After months of very high lake levels and groundwater levels, relief finally came in July and lake levels began to recede. The have been receding ever since and the high water mark is now just another mark on our memories. The lesson here is keep in mind that groundwater is not the weather...It does not change in a day or a week or even a month. It can lag behind wet winters for several months or even years depending on conditions below ground. So even a hot sunny August day on the surface could be hiding the flood from last winter below ground as it makes its way through the water table.
The fall outlook is not much different that the summer according to the National Weather Service. They are predicting above normal temperatures and normal to below normal precipitation through mid November. The are also predicting a neutral Nino conditions. This is neither El Nino or La Nina and this pattern is what we experienced the winter of 2012 -2013. These Neutral periods tend to generate large single events that are less than a week long. we locally call them "Pineapple Expresses" or "Atmospheric Rivers" (AR). La Niñas tend to have long periods of cool, wet weather like we saw the winter of 2011-2012. El Niños tend to create warmer and drier patterns sometimes called "California Winters". The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service have very detailed information on these weather patterns if you want more info. Fortunately, we thought you would want to know so we included these links below.
USGS Multi-Hazards Program - The ArkStorm information page
What's the Weather?
What are the River Conditions?
Thurston County Emergency Management provides timely data on river levels and background information on when to expect flooding.
What are the Groundwater Conditions?
Current Flooding Threat is - Elevated - Follow link for explanation
Narrative Explanation of Current Conditions:
High groundwater issues may occur in historic problem areas around the County and along the shorelines of many lakes.
The rains have returned on schedule. October ended our driest period in over 80 years. We have recorded almost 30 inches of rain since October 13. Off and on rain is in the forecast through April 2013 as we are currently in a neutral weather pattern.
September 2012 was the driest on record following the driest August on record
August 2012 was the driest on record for the Olympia area and most of Western Washington
August 30-2012 - Black lake UPDATE - As of August 28, 2012 the Black Ditch was cleared of three beaver dams that were severely restricting normal flows north out of Black Lake. The dams were removed and the materials were take off site by Thurston County Public Works Department. As of August 30th no attempts by the beavers to reconstruct any of the dams was observed and unrestricted flow out of Black Lake was still occurring. The lake is lowering by approximately 2 inches per day or more. The drawdown to normal levels of the lake will likely take two weeks or more.
What's Happening With the Tides?
Contact Mark Biever, R.P.G, L.P.E.G- Thurston County Environmental Monitoring Program Supervisor, by e-mail email@example.com. or
for Lake information contact Janie Civille, Ph.D. by email at Civillj@co.thurston.w.us
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