Monday, January 3, 2011
WALLA WALLA -- December closed 2010 with a real winter mix.
There was rain, snow, bone-chilling cold, slush and, just for good measure, even a pre-dawn squall.
That happened on the morning of Dec. 14 when winds gusting to 58 mph swept through, knocking down tree limbs and caused at least one power failure affecting 1,971 homes and businesses. The fast-moving storm also brought brief, but intense, rain showers and several lightning strikes.
The 58 mph wind gust was not only the fastest wind speed for the month, but also for the year, according to weather service records.
That storm, along with a string of others, caused December to end well above average for precipitation with 3.06 inches, a mark .55 inches above normal. The heaviest rainfall came on Dec. 28 when a near-constant downpour dropped nearly three-quarters of an inch in 24 hours. Overall there were 15 days with measurable precipitation, one-tenth of an inch or more, and only 16 days with zero or trace amounts.
Snowfall in December totaled 10.5 inches with at least one inch of snow reported on five days. The heaviest snowfall was three inches reported on Dec. 19.
The rain and snow brought the precipitation total for 2010 to 18.37 inches, an amount 2.51 inches below normal, according to the weather service. The total for the water year, which runs from September to October, now stands at 7.3 inches, which is .17 inches above normal.
The coldest night of the month came at the end, when the mercury dropped to 11 degrees on New Year's Eve, The warmest day was a relatively balmy 62 degrees, which occurred on Dec. 12, according to the weather service. Overall there were 20 days when the temperature was below 32 degrees.
According to the national Climate Prediction Center, the outlook for this month calls for near-normal temperature and near-normal precipitation.
Normal highs for Walla Walla during January are about 41 degrees and normal lows about 29 degrees. The normal precipitation, based on a 30-year average, is 2.25 inches.