Greening up

August precip puts monthly total above normal, year-to-date remains more than 5 inches under
Thursday, September 2, 2021
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While recent rainstorms have brought August precipitation to above normal amounts, the year-to-date numbers paint a clear picture of how far the county is behind normal due to months of drought conditions.

“We still have a long way to go to make up for annual deficits. Here is hoping for a wet fall, but the climate trends remain toward an overall warmer than normal and drier than normal fall,” said National Weather Service (NWS) Warning Coordination Meteorologist Tom Frieders.

In Columbus, 1.34 inches of precipitation fell in August, with .25 inches of that falling since Aug. 26. That compares to the normal August amount of .93 inches.

It’s the year-to-date precipitation number that serves as a reminder of drought conditions — with Columbus sitting at 6.10 inches as of Aug. 31. The year-to-date total is 6.10 inches. That compares to the normal year-to-date number of 11.31 inches.

At Mystic Lake, 2.96 inches of precipitation fell in August, with .46 inches falling between Aug. 25 and Aug. 28. That is above the normal August amount of 1.86 inches.

The year-to-date total is 16.80 inches, which compares to the normal year-to-date amount of 18.55 inches.

In Rapelje, 2.03 inches were recorded in August, with .12 inches falling between Aug. 25 and Aug. 28. That is above the normal August amount of 1.06 inches.

The year-to-date total was 8.23 inches, compared to the normal year-to-date amount of 11.39 inches.

FIRE RESTRICTIONS REMAIN

While the rain was direly needed, drought conditions still exist and Stage 2 fire restrictions remain in place.

The Custer Gallatin Forest announced Monday that it was removing fire restrictions as of Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. for all areas, with the exception of the Sioux Ranger District in southeastern Montana and northwestern South Dakota, according to the Custer Gallatin National Forest Service.

According to an Aug. 31 fire briefing given by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to Gov. Greg Gianforte, fire activity in the state is still active and of substantial concern. That report stated that there are 18 large fire incidents in the state and Montana remains in preparedness level 3. Seventy fires have started since last week. Since Jan. 1, there have been more than 827,000 acres burned and approximately 50 homes lost.

Currently, the Woods Creek Fire is the state’s largest, at 55,000 acres and 90 percent containment.

Of the state’s $105 million Fire Suppression Fund (which is set every fiscal year and is at its legal maximum amount), approximately $48.5 million has been used since the start of the fiscal year, according to the governor’s briefing statement.

FORECAST

Columbus will finish out the week with cooler temperatures, with highs of 76 and 69 degrees on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 2 and 3. Labor Day weekend will bring back some heat, with highs of 83, 91 and 88 Saturday through Monday.

Friday will bring the only chance of moisture at 30 percent.