Mac closes books on driest year ever
According to National Weather Service records dating back to 1894, McMinnville’s 22.33 inches of rain was 14.13 inches below normal. It also fell 2.66 inches before the previous record of 24.99, set in the Great Depression year of 1929.
“It’s quite a substantial feat to shatter a record like that,” said Matthew Cullen, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Portland. He said the region’s large-scale weather patterns failed to deliver the typical rainfall, shorting snowpack and river levels.
While it was a very dry year overall, Cullen noted, “Probably one of the more unique aspects of it was how wet it was in September.” McMinnville got almost a third of its precipitation that month, making it the second wettest on record.
Both Salem and Eugene also logged record-dry years.
Salem had 23.59 inches, 16.08 below normal. That broke a record set in 1985.
Eugene had 21.19 inches, a whopping 24.91 inches below normal. That broke a record set in 1944.
According to the U.S. Drought Meter from Dec. 31, much of the western part of the United States is in the same boat. Conditions currently range from abnormally dry to exceptional drought.
The forecast calls for scattered showers Friday, followed by a sunny to mostly sunny weekend. Rain is expected to return Tuesday.
The weather reported in the News-Register varies somewhat from that recorded by the National Weather Service, as it is based on 4:30 a.m. readings at the airport. The airport readings showed local rain for the year at an even more meager 22.10.