Saturday, September 26, 2009

Aug 19 - Sep 19 Dry Spell

September is winding down. The trees have just started to shed their chlorophyllic pigments, and as a butterfly hatches out, each day provides more and more color. In my previous job, fall was a very demanding season, and I haven't really had the privilege to enjoy God's autumn beauty in Missouri's woodlands. This year has been different, though. I've had the chance to spend some time outside with my three girls, and just recently enjoyed some much needed time with my wife down at the lake.

But that's not the topic of this post.

September is showcasing yet another surplus month for precipitation. As of today (9/25), we are running a surplus of 0.59". With the exception of a dry January, every month has exceeded the average precipitation mark. But the data for September doesn't tell the whole story.

(click table for larger image)

For a period starting on August 19, we experienced a very dry and cool weather pattern. Foggy mornings and mostly sunny skies were the norm for much of that period. The air was dry, and we only exceeded our average high temperature four times.

As beautiful as the weather was, we did go through a period of 31 days with very little rain. We experienced only 6 days with measurable precipitation (0.01 or greater), with the total precip adding up to 0.31".

Visual stress could be seen in some plants and the soil. The cracks in my garden grew bigger and bigger as the clay in our soil shrunk like an old piece of leather. By the end of that period, I couldn't till/weed the garden as the soil had become hard as a rock.

The ground around our foundation also began to pull apart, making me all the more thankful that we don't have a basement. Folks around here are plagued by periods of dry weather. Once the first big rain comes, the water comes pouring in because of a semi-impervious dry soil.

We did get our relief as an impressive upper level low spun in Colorado for a few days, bringing the first snow to some in the mountains, and steering moisture our way. We experienced some nice cloudy days and soaking rains.

The graph below highlights the two major rains we experienced during this two-month period: August 16 - 19, and September 19 - 24. The latter being the effect of the Colorado upper level low.

I've put together some disaggregated precipitation data this week that shows the frequencies of monthly rain event intensities. I'll start posting them in my monthly reports.

As the weather gets colder, I'm getting excited for a couple of reasons: The deer woods are calling my name, and each day is a day closer to our first snowfall!


OSNW3 said...

WxWatcher, how was the lake? Ozarks, correct? I bet it was sweet! Great graphical representation of the dry spell you went through. I have yet to see the ground surrounding a basement foundation peel away, so to speak... perhaps I am envisioning it incorrectly. Looking forward to your monthly report!

I know Winter is just around the corner... due to stacking a cord of wood in/around my garage preparing for the heating season.

WxWatcher said...

Yes, we went to the Lake of the Ozarks. It was wonderful. We visited the ruins of a turn of the century "castle" -- really just a very big home built out of local rocks. It was in Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The castle is only one of the neat features in the area. That park is widely known for its karst topography, defined by geologic features such as sinkholes, caves, a natural bridge, and a big spring that leads into the lake. The area also boasts some beautiful savannah and glade areas.

It was by far the highlight of our trip.

I also drank about 2 gallons of Starbucks while there...