Year ends with precipitation deficit


First Posted: 1/7/2009

Above-average rainfall during December did not prevent Mount Airy from finishing the year with a precipitation deficit, according to a newly released report.
Annual precipitation for 2008 totaled 37.69 inches, based on a breakdown from the F.G. Doggett Water Plant, the citys official weather-monitoring station.
That is 7.81 inches or 17.2 percent below the normal yearly amount of 45.50 inches.
The persistent drought that has plagued the area eased somewhat in December when precipitation totaled 4.10 inches. That exceeded the monthly average of 3.46 inches. Much of last months wet stuff was recorded on a single day, Dec. 12, when 1.72 inches fell.
Measurable precipitation occurred on 17 of Decembers 31 days, with no snow reported during that period.
The U.S. Drought Monitor listed Surry County as an abnormally dry area as of the end of December. Previously, the county was classified as one of moderate drought, a more serious designation.
Agricultural and other observers say that along with the rainfall volume itself, when precipitation occurs also is important, because a surplus in December does nothing to help crops that needed rain last spring and summer.
Meanwhile, Decembers temperature extremes showed a wide variation, from the months high of 64 occurring on Dec. 20 to the mercury dipping to 15 two days later, and also on Dec. 23, which was the lowest reading for December. The average high was 48.4 degrees and the average low, 29.
But all that added up to an average temperature of 38.7 for December, nearly identical to the usual monthly reading of 38.8 degrees.
Frost and fog both occurred in Mount Airy on 13 days during December.
Local weather records have been maintained since 1924.

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