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Hot, dry August in the works for Walla Walla, forecasters say

  • Updated
  • 2 min to read
July ride

A cyclist makes his way through Pioneer Park on a hot day in July, which logged 12 days of temperatures higher than 90 degrees.

August is predicted to bring hotter days and less rain than usual, according to the national Climate Prediction Center.

July was slightly cooler than normal, reports from the National Weather Service state, although temperatures exceeded 90 degrees on 12 days, and it was at least 100 degrees on five days. The hottest day of the month was Thursday, at 108 degrees.

The outlook for August calls for above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

Normal highs for Walla Walla during August are 88.1 degrees and normal lows are 60.5 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 0.57 inches.

By the end of the month, crops looked great in both Columbia and Walla Walla counties, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Winter wheat harvest in the southwestern portion of the counties started mid-July.

“For most of the grain farmers in this region, we couldn’t have asked for a better July to finish the ripening of their crops and get a jump on their harvest,” Cory Christensen, grain merchant for Northwest Grain Growers, said.

Christensen said harvest bushels started coming into the operation’s elevators July 6, and by the end of the month, estimated completion was around 25%.

“So long as the weather cooperates, we should be done by the first week of September at our northernmost facilities,” he said.

Harvest began a week late this year due to large spring rains, he said.

There were a few days of excessive heat in the middle and toward the end of the month, but soil moisture before this month was more than enough, and the crops that were still finishing were able to withstand the warmth, he said.

There were no rain events to cause quality concerns in July, and there was a gradual increase in warmth with no spikes in either direction.

“It’s shaping up to be one of the better Julys we’ve had lately,” Christensen said.

Spring crops looked good in most parts. However, in the south portion of Walla Walla County the first cutting of alfalfa and peas was considered poor due to fickle weather in Mid-July, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

In July, the average temperature was 74.6 degrees, which was 0.4 degrees below normal.

High temperatures averaged 89.2 degrees, which was normal, according to preliminary data received by the National Weather Service in Pendleton.

Low temperatures averaged 60.1 degrees, which was 0.8 degrees above normal. The lowest was 50 degrees on July 3.

In Yakima County, green peas, onions, green beans and summer squash were coming on by the end of the month. Late-maturing cherry varieties were harvested, according to the USDA.

Blueberries, nectarines, peaches, as well as many vegetable crops and melons, were also harvested. Green cones appeared in hop yards in early maturing varieties.

Precipitation was below normal for July by a little more than half an inch. Walla Walla received 0.05 inches of rain. Measurable precipitation — at least 0.01 inch — was received on one day.

This year’s precipitation has reached 11 inches, which is 1.51 inches below normal. Since October, the water year precipitation at Walla Walla has been 13.67 inches, which is 5.86 inches below normal.

The first day of the month was the highest wind gust at 31 mph.

Chloe LeValley can be reached at chloelevalley@wwub.com or 509-526-8326.

Chloe LeValley covers the cities of Walla Walla and College Place as well as agriculture and the environment in the Walla Walla Valley. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University and joined the Union-Bulletin's team in October 2019.