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Six-year above-average moisture trend comes to a halt in 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 10 January 2013 17:53

By Sheri Hink

The Wauneta Breeze


The Wauneta area has enjoyed above-average amounts of precipitation for the past six years. That all changed in 2012 when the area received below-average moisture totaling 17.65 inches. Wauneta’s average yearly precipitation is 18.80 inches.

Precipitation received in 2012 was not a new record, but it was the lowest seen since the area received 17.44 inches in 2005. The record low for precipitation in Wauneta was 8.42 inches in 2002.

Prior to 2002, the lowest year on record was 1898 with 8.94 inches, according to the High Plains Regional Climate Center. Wauneta’s wettest year on record was 1962 with 30.42 inches.

Precipitation, or the lack of it in 2012, has been the topic of conversation with many in the area this year, especially farmers and ranchers.

As Breeze news staff compiled the moisture and temperature highs and lows for 2012 a couple things stood out:

First, the area saw an end to the six-year trend of above-average moisture.

Second, not only was it a dry year, it was hot as well. The area experienced 28 days of temperatures soaring over 100 degrees. The hottest day of the year was June 27 when the temperature hit 111 degrees.

The wettest month of the year was April with 4.79 inches, followed closely by July with 4.71 inches.

Wauneta saw three months, January, September and October with no measurable moisture whatsoever.

Comparatively, each month of the year in 2011 saw some amount of moisture, even if it was no more than the leanest month, November, when the area received only 0.20 of an inch.


Heat combines with dry conditions

High temperatures combined with the low precipitation received to create a very hot and very dry summer.

According to Breeze news staff calculation, Wauneta endured 28 days of temperatures over 100 degrees during the summer of 2012.

The highest temperature came on June 27 with a whopping 111 degrees.

Twenty-two of the 28 days with temperatures beyond the 100 degree mark took place in June and July where 1.90 and 4.71 inches of moisture were received, respectively.

In fact, July was the second wettest month of the year. The wettest month of 2012 was April with 4.79 inches.

On the other end of the spectrum, the day after Christmas, Dec. 26, had the lowest temperature of the year when it dipped down to a negative 10 degrees over night.

In total, 2012 had seven days with lows under zero degrees, where 2011 had 15 days under zero with the coldest day on Jan. 11 with a low of negative 15 degrees.