From drought to downpour

Published 5:10 pm Friday, February 12, 2010

The local area received more precipitation in December and January than it has for the same months in more than 10 years, continuing a wet weather pattern that has soaked the area over the past six months.
The area received 12.87 inches of precipitation in December and 14.87 inches in January, according to observations for the National Weather Service in Tryon.
The totals represent the most received during either month for more than 10 years. Januarys total also was the most received for any month since the area received 18.88 inches in September of 2004 when tropical storms drenched the area.
Decembers total included 3.1 inches of snow. Januarys total included 7 inches of snow and ice. Much of the precipitation came on January 30 when 6.74 inches of rain, freezing rain, snow and snow pellets were recorded.
January was the sixth straight month with above average precipitation. Following a dry June and July last year, the area has seen plentiful rainfull each month, and the trend has continued in February.
Through the first 10 days of the month, the area already has received more than three inches of precipitation, according to observations in Tryon.
The wet weather is quickly erasing any ground and surface water deficits built up over the drought years of 2008 and 2007.
Polk County spent much of 2008 at or near the highest level of drought. The drought persisted at lower levels into 2009, before the latest shift to wet weather.
A similar shift took place earlier in the decade when the area had a very wet 2003. The area received 83.29 inches of precipitation, snapping a four-year stretch of dry weather that included an extended, severe drought in 2000.

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