June 30 brought the close of the 2013-2014 water year, and it will go down in history as one of the driest ever recorded in Eureka. According to measurements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s station at Woodley Island Marina, the area recorded about .35 inches of unexpected rainfall in June, bringing the year’s total to 21.11 inches, just 52 percent of the 30-year average. For those keeping score at home, 2013-2014 will go down as the third driest year on record since the folks with NOAA began keeping track, trailing only the 17.56 inches of rain recorded in the historic drought year of 1976-1977 and the 20.72 inches that came down in 1923-1924. For some perspective on just how serious this drought year was, take a look at this graph, on which we’ve detailed this year’s month-by-month precipitation totals, as well as those for 1976-1977 and the 30-year average.
We also asked the kind meteorologists at NOAA to crunch some numbers for us to figure out the driest two-year stretches ever recorded at Woodley Island. The period from July 1, 1929 through June 30 1931 recorded just 44.82 inches of rain at the marina, making it the driest in history, followed by the period from July 1, 1922 through June 30, 1924, which totaled just 45.9 inches. The period from July 1, 1976 through June 30, 1978 (included in the graph above) recorded 51.11 inches, making it the fourth-driest in recorded history. Our current stretch (from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014) came in seventh on the list with 53.42 inches of rainfall.