It wasn’t the driest year on record, but 2012 will be remembered for a lack of precipitation.
With a total of 33.27 inches of precipitation measured at The Missourian office in Downtown Washington, 2012 was the driest year since 1989, when 31.89 inches of precipitation was recorded. Overall, 2012 ranks 15th on the list of driest years. Records for Washington were first kept in 1951.
Through 2013, the average yearly precipitation for Downtown Washington is 42.48 inches.
In 1976, a total of 20.22 inches of precipitation was recorded, and that’s the all-time driest year.
Second on the list is 1965 with 26.3 inches of precipitation.
In 1953, a total of 27.87 inches of precipitation was recorded.
The 1963 total was 27.92 inches of precipitation.
Precipitation in 1960 measured 28.63 inches.
The year 1980 was below 30 inches as well with 29.25 inches of precipitation measured.
In 1964, a total of 30.47 inches of precipitation was recorded.
The total for 1952 was 30.72 inches of precipitation.
Following is 1955 with 30.74 inches of precipitation.
In 1968, a total of 31.04 inches of precipitation was measured.
Next on the list is 1979 with a total of 31.21 inches of precipitation.
Precipitation totals for 1962 measured 31.23 inches.
The total for 1954 was 32.49 inches of precipitation.
Following is a breakdown by month of what happened in 2012.
The first month of 2012 did not indicate how dry it would be. A total of 3.88 inches of precipitation was measured to make it the wettest January since 2008 (3.9 inches). The average precipitation for January is 2.4 inches.
January’s wettest day was the 26th with 1.8 inches of precipitation measured that day. A total of 1.73 inches of precipitation was measured Jan. 17.
January included 3.0 inches of snow and hail.
Even with an extra day due to leap year, 2012 turned into the driest February since 2007 with 2.81 inches of precipitation. The 2007 total was 2.72 inches.
However, February was still wetter than the average of 2.45 inches.
The highest reading in February was 1.8 inches measured Feb. 6, which included a weekend.
Snow was reported three times in February.
With 4.01 inches of precipitation, March of 2012 still was wetter than normal (3.53 inches). The month was drier than 2011 (6.93 inches) but wetter than 2010 (3.43 inches).
March started with hail, no other reports of snow or ice were reported.
The wettest day was March 16 with 1.3 inches of precipitation recorded in the gauge.
Another month over the average, April yielded 5.72 inches of precipitation. The average precipitation for April in Washington is 3.95 inches.
April of 2012 was like March. It was drier than 2011 (6.85 inches) but wetter than 2010 (3.25 inches).
The wettest day in April was the 14th, when 3.3 inches of precipitation was measured. That also marked when lightning struck the office, but did not damage the rain gauge.
The transition from a wet year to a dry year really was seen in May, when 2.39 inches of precipitation was recorded. It was the driest May since 2005, when 0.77 of an inch was measured.
The monthly average for May is 4.89 inches, making it the wettest month, on average, for the year.
May’s high reading was for the weekend May 7, when 1.71 inches of precipitation was measured. However, there was nothing in the gauge again until May 29, when 0.48 of an inch was measured.
Good for baseball and softball, bad for farmers, June proved to be another dry month with 1.4 inches of precipitation being measured.
That made it the driest June since 1992 (1.12 inches) and left the month well below the 4.27-inch average.
All of the June precipitation was measured June 17 (noon).
Some parts of Washington received rain in July, but it tended to be scattered. Only 0.67 of an inch of precipitation was measured that month, making it the driest July since 1997 (0.24 of an inch).
One storm caused a lengthy rain delay at an American Legion baseball game at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, but left just 0.05 of an inch in the gauge downtown.
July’s wettest day was July 29, with 0.4 of an inch being recorded at noon that day.
The average precipitation for July is 3.97 inches.
The west side of town seemed to get pounded a lot more during August, particularly during the Town and Country Fair. Storms were recorded Aug. 5 (0.6 of an inch) and Aug. 27 (2.1 inches) with remnants of Hurricane Isaac also passing through the area starting at the end of the month.
The monthly precipitation total was 3.13 inches, which was wetter than 2011 (2.56 inches) but drier than 2010 (4.2 inches).
It still was drier than the 3.39-inch average.
The wettest reading for August of 2012 was the Aug. 27 reading.
Only 0.01 of an inch of the Isaac precipitation was measured during August.
The rest of what had been Hurricane Isaac pushed through the area in early September, leaving 1.45 of the month’s 3.25 inches of precipitation.
Even with the storm, it was the driest September since 2007, when 2.21 inches of precipitation was measured.
The average for September in Washington is 3.89 inches of precipitation.
The Isaac reading Sept. 1 at 10:50 a.m. (1.42 inches) was the highest reading of the month. A total of 1.46 inches of precipitation was recorded for Isaac’s passage.
Other than Isaac, the highest reading of the month was Sept. 10 (weekend) at 0.5 of an inch.
October of 2012 was the wettest October since 2009 at 2.45 inches. Only 2.38 inches of precipitation was measured in 2011 while the 2010 total was 0.51 of an inch.
October of 2008 was the wettest year on record at 18.52 inches.
The monthly average for October is 3.42 inches of precipitation.
In 2012, the highest reading was 0.85 of an inch measured for a weekend Oct. 15.
The 11th month of 2012 yielded 1.16 inches of precipitation, making it the driest November since 2008 when 1.12 inches of precipitation was measured.
The average for November in Washington is 3.65 inches of precipitation.
The wettest day in November was Nov. 12 with 0.91 of an inch being recorded.
December of 2012 was equal to December of 2010 with 2.4 inches of precipitation being measured, but drier than 2011 (5.09 inches).
The average precipitation for December in Washington is 3.07 inches.
The wettest day of December was Dec. 4 with 0.85 of an inch being measured.