When we tallied up the daily precipitation measurements at our Westmoreland office for the year 2019, we verified what was already pretty apparent to everyone – it really was a dry year. Our monthly total for December was 4.75 inches, and that was actually the wettest month of the year – followed closely by February's 4.62 inches and April's 4.00 inches. The total for the whole year was 29.75 inches.
Most notable for the year were the low readings in what are usually wet months – October's 1.76 inches, and November's 1.50 inches. But despite that, it wasn't the driest year in Southeast Portland in the past twenty years – 2001 checked in with 29.67 inches, and 2013 with 28.89 inches. Although 2018 was a bit dry also, with a total of 35.85 inches, four much wetter years intervened: 2014 had 46.01 inches, 2015 had 47.09 inches, 2016 had 51.89 inches, and 2017 had 52.28 inches – all four years were wetter than our 20-year annual average of 41.63 inches.
Only two days in 2019 recorded more than an inch of rain: 1.08 inches on April 7, and 1.22 inches on the first day of winter, December 21. (We should point out that we read our gauge at 4 p.m. each day, on the date of record.)
As to what our dry 2019 might mean for the future – well, the record tells us, "nothing in particular". Statistically, we are still more likely to have a wetter than a dryer year than 2019 was, in any successive year; and, of course, our wettest month of the past year was December, which could signal increased rain for us in the rest of this winter.
Enjoy any sunshine you encounter, but carry an umbrella! As of late January, when THE BEE went to press with this February issue, every day of the month, so far, had experienced measurable rain!
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