By DAVID GREEN
The dry days of summer officially came to an end Aug. 17. About an inch of rain fell that day in the Morenci area and an inch and a half was measured about a week later.
“Our dry spell started June 21 and kept up for almost two months,” said George Isobar, climate observer in Morenci for the National Weather Service. “We had less than two inches of precipitation for those two months.”
At least that’s how it was in most of the area. Isobar heard reports of heavy downpours to the north and to the south and even one to the east.
For the most part though, there wasn’t much rain falling in this area until mid-August.
“It changed pretty quickly starting Aug. 17,” he said. “We had enough rain in the final two weeks of the month to end up with an average rainfall.”
On the average, about 3.9 inches falls during August and the past month’s total came in at 3.93.
The spring started off with about four inches above normal in March and April, and rainfall stayed in the normal range for May and June, but then the spigot was turned off.
The rainy streak that started in mid-August dried up in early September, but about three-fourths of an inch fell Monday and Tuesday of this week, Isobar said.
“Now is the time for it to settle down with the corn and bean harvest coming up,” he said. “This isn’t the time to make up for a dry summer.”
The last 10 days of August mostly stayed in the 60 and 70° range, Isobar said, but the average for the month ended up just over average.
“It seems like it was a cool month, but it’s easy to forget about the first two and a half weeks,” he said. “We had two days where the maximum reached 95°, plus another at 90° and two at 89°.”
There were four thunderstorms recorded, but no severe weather reported in the area. The maximum wind gust for the month at the Toledo National Weather Service office was only 37 miles an hour.
Another day or two in the 90s wouldn’t be unusual for September, Isobar said, but there’s also a chance of the first frost.
“Looking back in the records, we almost always had our first frost in September back in the 1970s and early 80s, but it’s a lot more spotty now,” he said. “Still, some mornings in the upper 30s aren’t unexpected at all.”