As the dry weather pattern continues, weather data for September gain sound like a broken record.
And that almost causes meteorologist William J. Alder to wet his lips during an interview. He, like almost everyone else, wishes he had something a lot wetter to talk about.Only .07 of an inch of precipitation fell during all of September at the Salt Lake International Airport. That's a mere 8 percent of the normal monthly amount, qualifying the month as the eighth driest September on record at the airport, Alder said.
Other drier Septembers were when only traces of moisture fell in 1943 and 1951, .02 in 1952, .03 in 1974, .05 in 1978 and 1979 and .06 in 1932. September is normally the second-driest month of the year; July is the driest.
September 1988 was a major departure from the same month six years ago. Thanks to the Wasatch Front's "Century Storm" and a total 7.04 inches of precipitation, September 1982 was established as the wettest month and the wettest Septem-ber on record at the airport weather office.
Only 9.94 inches of moisture was recorded for the 1987-88 water year, which ended Sept. 30. That was 65 percent of normal. The year was the fifth driest on record in the Salt Lake Valley. The 30-year normal amount is 15.31 inches.
Water-year records at the airport date back to 1928-29, and at the downtown office from 1874-75. Other drier years, all logged at the airport: 1933-34, 8.16 inches of precipitation; 1978-79, 8.19 inches; 1930-31, 9.27 inches; and 1965-66, 9.53 inches.
Only two months of the water year, October 1987 and May 1988, were above normal for precipitation. The remaining 10 months were below normal, Alder said. The most precipitation in any water year at the airport was 25.15 inches in 1981-82.
To the relief of the vast majority of people, below-normal temperatures were finally recorded in September, following the hottest summer (June, July and August) on record in 115 years. One has to go way back to January to find another below-normal month for temperatures, Alder noted.
However, there were 75 days with 90-degree or higher readings for May through September - one day in May, 17 days in June, 28 in July, 21 in August and eight days in September. The average number is 54, with the greatest being 82 days in 1961.
The continued dry weather also is reflected in Great Salt Lake readings. The lake has dropped 2.4 inches during the past two weeks. The seasonal decline has been 2.70 feet or 32.4 inches so far this year. The water temperature is 64 degrees and salinity, 9.6 percent.