November 2012 Tied For Second Driest Month In 32 Years

Not even close to the driest month: February ’89

By Bill Bardsley, for the Beacon

Remember November – way back in 2012, half a winter ago?

It was a sunny, dry month, so dry that it tied August, 1996 as the second driest month in Andover since 1981.* (That’s when I began keeping precipitation records.)

* Like some recent baseball records, this one needs an asterisk. I had a substitute weather watcher last February who didn’t record precipitation. I know the snowfall was minimal, but I don’t know about rain. Maybe we had another month for the record books? Does any Beacon reader have this data?

The November 2012 total was 0.46 inches, which came as two inches of snow and a little light rain on the eighth; light rain on the morning of the thirteenth; and a quarter inch of snow on the thirtieth. Average November precipitation since ’81 had been 4.55 inches.

The August 1996 total was 0.48 inches, but, like the political polls with their margins of error, my readings can be a little off because the rain gauge isn’t that precise on hundredths of an inch, so I call that a tie.

The driest month in those 32 years was February of 1989, with just 0.08 inches precipitation, which came as one inch of light snow on the morning of the eighth. There have been five other months with less than one inch precipitation, but none of these were under 0.80 inches.

On the other side of the ledger, the biggest rainfall was in October of 2005, at about 17 inches. Here my reading is not precise because I was away during the great Columbus Day flood, and my six-inch rain gauge overflowed.

Another statistic for those thinking of global warming and its effects: It was only in the fifteenth year of my record keeping that any month produced as much as nine inches of precipitation (that was 9.72 inches in October, 1995). In the 17 years since, there have been eight more nine-plus inch months.