NEWS HEADLINES

Wettest summer since ’07 can’t bust drought

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, September 3, 2014

For the third month in a row, Wise County received higher-than-average rainfall.

Despite that good news, most of the county remains under “severe drought” conditions as the calendar turns to September.

Drought Graphic

After an abnormally dry spring, rainfall has been plentiful this summer. Weather watcher Doyle Green of Decatur recorded 2.57 inches of rain in August, slightly higher than the average amount of 2.31 inches for the month.

During the meteorological summer (June 1 to Aug. 31), Wise County received 15.66 inches of rain, including a record 8.08 inches in July. The average rainfall for that three-month time period is 9.08 inches. It marked the wettest summer since 2007.

That came on the heels of five straight months of below-average rainfall totals to begin 2014. From Jan. 1 to May 31, the county got only 7.83 inches of rain – 8.57 inches below normal.

For the year, Wise County is now just under 2 inches below normal.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of Aug. 26, the southwestern portions of Wise County were listed as “extreme drought” areas, with the rest of the county categorized as “severe drought.”

The recent rains have also done little to help fill up Lake Bridgeport. As of Tuesday, the lake remained nearly 23 feet below conservation level.

Temperatures achieved a rare feat for August in Wise County. Green’s records indicate the high never officially reached 100 degrees. The highest temperature recorded in August was 98 on Aug. 22 and Aug. 25.

Last August, nine days of 100 degrees or higher were recorded. In fact, the average high temperature in August of 2014 was nearly 4 and-a-half degrees cooler than last August – 92.3 degrees compared to 96.7 degrees.

The lowest temperature last month actually dipped into the 50s when a low temperature of 58 degrees was recorded Aug. 2.

Although September started off blazing hot, forecasters are calling for highs only in the mid-90s this week, with rain chances returning this weekend. By next Thursday, Sept. 11, a high temperature of 79 is predicted.

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