PROSSER, Wash. – We knew it would happen eventually. Like the spring of 2013, this June was actually warmer than average in Washington state, emphatically ending an ongoing period of relatively balmy weather and a trend in recent years of cooler than normal conditions during the early growing season.
In fact, June may be part of an emerging trend of warmth. Last month marks the 11th time in the last 12 months that Prosser has recorded above average temperatures. The last occurrence of below average temperatures for an entire season was the winter of 2011-12, which was followed by five consecutive seasons of above or near average temperatures that have, so far, continued into the early summer of 2013.
Rain tough on cherries
The other major June headline was periodic wet weather during the latter part of the month, which was either a blessing or a curse depending on who you ask.
“The rainfall was welcomed as beneficial by the dryland wheat growers,” said AgWeatherNet director Gerrit Hoogenboom. “However, the fickle distribution of the wet weather was very detrimental for some cherry growers whose orchards were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The regrettable combination of small crop loads due to poor spring pollination weather and rain-induced splitting means that some cherry orchards will not be harvested this year.”
A Web based, publicly available system, AgWeatherNet provides access to near real-time weather data and value-added products from WSU’s statewide weather network, along with decision aids for agricultural producers and other users.
Warmest low in 20 years
Overall, June temperatures were one to two degrees above average across the state.
“Overnight temperatures were particularly warm in central Washington,” said AgWeatherNet meteorologist Nic Loyd. “Prosser experienced the warmest June average low temperature since 1992, while Moxee’s average low temperature was 4.2 degrees above average.”
Rainfall was highly variable across the region, especially in central and eastern areas. While some parts of central Washington received relatively little rainfall in June, other areas from Prosser to Moses Lake received 1½ inches or more.
Humid heat wave
Warm and dry weather in early June was replaced with more unsettled and at times cooler daytime weather in eastern Washington during the second half of the month. However, at the end of the month isolated, strong thunderstorms occurred on June 29 as a result of hot, humid and unstable conditions. Some areas, including the Tri-Cities, approached 100 degrees on June 30, as an early heat wave commenced in the Northwest.
Highlights of the month included 0.75 inches of rain at Prosser on June 18 and a chilly low temperature of 35 degrees at Harrington South on June 12. June 20 was a particularly notable day at Green Bluff, near Spokane, where 1.3 inches of rain fell in only 24 hours.
The high and low temperatures on that rain soaked day were 49 and 47 degrees. It is very rare to observe such a small diurnal temperature range in eastern Washington, especially during the summer.
Despite a few cool days during the month, June was essentially a continuation of the relatively warm weather that has dominated central Washington since early in 2012.
Find this news release at WSU News online at http://bit.ly/16kFEBw.