January 8, 2009

2008, a record year

2008, a record year

By CHERYL ODDEN

Area residents who feel that 2008 has been an unusual year for weather are right. With December snowfall that has rivaled records across the state, local precipitation amounts support the contention that 2008 has been extraordinary.

Precipitation during the first four months fit the profile of drought – a term used to describe the area for nearly a decade.

With local (Garrison) precipitation of only .65 inches from January-April, the year began with two inches below the average of 2.65 as reported by the National Weather Service.

The monthly totals of .11 for January and February and .18 for March are each less than a third of the averages of .39, .36 and .63, respectively.

April, usually the first month with significant moisture that averages 1.27, yielded a paltry .25 inch in 2008 – less than 20 percent of the average.

Over the next five months (May-September), moisture was near normal. The five-month total precipitation of 10.9 was only about a quarter inch short of the average five-month total of 11.19 inches.

The final three months of 2008 were wetter than normal. October’s 1.6 was delivered in the form of rain. Things took a turn with a Nov. 6 snowstorm that dumped nine inches of the white stuff.

"Snow," "cold" and "wind" became dreaded words right through the end of the year. November snowfall yielded 2.2 inches of moisture – nearly four times the November average of .57.

December’s snowfall added 1.67 inches of precipitation – more than four times the average of .39 inches.

The final three months of 2008 yielded 5.47 inches of precipitation. By comparison, the same three months of 2007 were relatively dry with only .04 inches.

Yes, 2008 has panned out as an unusual one. The drought-like moisture levels at the beginning of the year were followed by several months that were typical. With abundant year-end precipitation, the total moisture for 2008 was 17.02 inches, a full inch more than the average of 16.02.


The Weather Network