Tag Archives: weather

The word is ‘average’ for the first three months of Water Year 2019

Average, very average. That was my first reaction as I looked over the rainfall data for the first quarter of Water Year 2019, which began Oct. 1.

The point was driven home when I looked at the rainfall totals for Silverdale on the website of the Kitsap Public Utility District. October’s rainfall total was 3.23 inches, compared to a median average of 3.74 inches. November’s total was 5.51, compared to a 6.83 average. And December’s total was 9.31, lining up perfectly with a 9.31 average. (Exactly the same! What’s the chance of that happening?)

Looking at Hansville at the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula and Holly in southwest region, monthly totals were pretty close to the averages — with one exception. In December, Holly received 19.86 inches of rainfall, well above the median average of 13.93 inches for the month.

As you can see from the charts, the current trend (blue lines) are fairly close to average (pink lines) and not far off from last year (orange lines), which also was a fairly average year.

Here are all the numbers for October-December in these three areas, with this year’s monthly totals followed by the long-range median average for that month:

  • Holly: October, 5.52, 6.51; November, 12.41, 11.86; December, 19.86, 13.93.
  • Silverdale: October, 3.23, 3.74; November, 5.51, 6.83; December, 9.31, 9.31.
  • Hansville: October, 3.04, 2.68; November, 3.88, 4.37; December, 5.12, 3.91.

As we well know on the Kitsap Peninsula, drier areas are found as you go north with wetter areas to the south. By the way, December is clearly the wettest month of the year for Silverdale and Holly, putting December at the peak of a bell-shaped curve for data collected over many years.

Hansville’s long-term pattern looks a little different, with November at the top of the curve and successive months going slightly lower than the previous month through September, when the rainfall jumps up in October and again in November.

All this information can be found on Kitsap PUD’s webpage for Hydrological Data. Click on “rain gauges” and choose a location. Especially helpful are the current water year daily reports, cumulative charts and monthly box charts.

Looking ahead, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration is predicting warmer-than-average temperatures and lower-then-average precipitation over the next three months.

The predicted El Niño has not yet formed, although sea-surface temperatures in the northern Pacific Ocean are well above average. Forecasters for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center say there is a 90 percent chance that El Niño will still form this winter and a 60 percent chance that it will persist through spring.

In the Pacific Northwest, El Niño often diverts the jet stream and winter storms to California, leaving us with warmer and drier weather. (La Niña brings the opposite.) So far, oceanic conditions remain neutral, which creates unsettled conditions which are less predictable over the long term.

Ongoing lack of rainfall raises concerns for chum, coho salmon

We’ve just gone through one of the driest five-month periods on record in Kitsap County, yet the total precipitation for entire water year was fairly close to average.

Water year 2018, which ended Sunday, offers a superb example of the extreme differences in precipitation from one part of the Kitsap Peninsula to another:

  • In Hansville — at the north end of the peninsula — the total rainfall for the year reached 35.2 inches, about 3.5 inches above average.
  • In Silverdale — about midway from north to south — the total rainfall was recorded as 43.1 inches, about 5 inches below average.
  • In Holly — near the south end — the total rainfall came in at 82 inches, about 3.3 inches above average.

The graphs of precipitation for the three areas show how this year’s rainfall tracked with the average rainfall through the entire year. The orange line depicts accumulated rainfall for water year 2018, while the pink line represents the average. Click on the images to enlarge and get a better view.

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Amusing Monday: Words cannot dampen the essence of rain and snow

After I woke up one morning last week, I noticed that there was a thin layer of water coating the outdoor furniture and concrete around our house. I stepped outside and felt a fine mist in the air. I wondered, could this be the “scattered showers” that weather forecasters had talked about?

Surely, a “mist” is different from “showers,” which is also different from “rain.” But where does one end and another begin according to the experts? A little help from the glossary of the American Meteorological Society revealed that the proper term for a very light precipitation is “drizzle.”

My curiosity got the better of me, and I found myself going deeper and deeper into the terminology for precipitation, both official and unofficial, first in English and then in other languages.

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