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Gauging our area’s weather

To the editor:

One thing everyone has in common is weather.
We all talk about the weather, but there isn’t much we can do about the weather. But did you know Polk County has a network of volunteers that record the rain, hail and snow data?

The group belongs to the nationwide Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). Along with the National Weather Service COOP Station in Tryon, these individuals log precipitation that occurs at their location, usually a home or farm, but also a school and a business too. This past July was a good example of what the network accomplished.  Several stations reached or exceeded the normal precipitation for the year of 61.77 inches of rain, as computed by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville. In fact, one station, NC-PK-2, has reached 69.61 inches of rain as of July 31.

How does our July compare to July of years past? What previous month was our wettest on record, and what year was it? Have our droughts happened in the past? Good questions, so let’s take a peek at the data from Tryon from 1917-2013.

For the wettest previous July, 2003 was the closest at 12.11 inches and the wettest month in the past looks like August of 1928 with 19.20 inches of rain.