News release: Weather Observations

Tim Baker, MU Extension Horticulture Specialist
102 N. Main, Suite 1, Gallatin, MO 64640
660-663-3232, bakert@missouri.edu

Release Date: August 20, 2015

Headline: Weather Observations

Since 2007, I have been a CoCoRaHS observer in Gallatin.  CoCoRaHS is short for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. It is open to anyone who has an interest in measuring precipitation, and reporting it to the CoCoRaHS web site every morning.

In those years since 2007, I have seen everything from excessive rainfall (15.85 inches above normal in 2009) to excessive drought (12.73 inches below normal in 2012).

In Gallatin, 2008-2010 saw above normal precipitation for each year. In 2011, we started seeing below normal precipitation every year. The 2012 drought was certainly one to remember. It lingered well into 2013, and while we were out of drought conditions by the end of May 2013, the drought re-emerged across northwest Missouri less than two months later in July 2013.  Both years after 2012 saw below normal precipitation: -2.09 in 2013 and -3.45 in 2014.

2015 may see a reversal of that trend, since May and July had excessive rainfall.  For May, I measured 8.93 inches in Gallatin, which was 3.63 inches above normal. July saw a total of 7.41 inches, which put us 2.88 inches over normal.  Ironically, June was short 0.88 inches, compared to normal, at least in Gallatin.

Of course, there’s no telling what the rest of 2015 will do.  And January through April was below normal every month in Gallatin.

For those who might want to see the details of these observations, I have added a “Climate and Meteorology” page to my web site. Included are my precipitation, snowfall, and evapotranspiration records for Gallatin, MO. My web page can be found at: http://extension.missouri.edu/nwhort/home.aspx  Keep in mind that these records are only for Gallatin, and other locations will vary.

While it’s interesting to look at the rainfall records for the year as a whole, if you are growing crops, you might wonder what the patterns look like during the growing season.

You can look at individual months, but I like to look at the water balance chart.  This chart compares evapotranspiration (the moisture that is being lost to the atmosphere) vs. precipitation (what comes down in the form of rain, snow, ice, etc.). I take daily evapotranspiration measurements every year from May through October.  I started this last year.

I have left last year’s water balance chart on my web site, and it clearly shows that balance throughout the summer.  We got rain at the right time in 2014, for the most part. However, the chart for 2015 is clearly on the surplus side.

If you are interested in becoming a CoCoRaHS observer, please feel free to contact me. It requires a computer and web connection so that you can report your data each day. You also must have an official CoCoRaHS four inch gauge which measures up to 11 inches of precipitation.  There are many places in our Northwest Extension Region where actively-reporting CoCoRaHS observers are sparse.  We would be happy to welcome more folks to this program.