By Joe Smillie, Gazette Reporter
While a large portion of the county was walking around the Colfax High School track at the Relay for Life Friday night, record low temperatures brought on a frost that zapped spring crops and gardens across the eastern portion of Whitman County.
The National Weather Service (NWS) recorded a low of 33 degrees at the Pullman-Moscow Airport, its only station on the Palouse, early Saturday morning.
That mark shattered the previous record low for the date; 39 degrees set July 12, 1981. The temperature was also 17 degrees below the 50 degree normal.
Gazette weather watcher Randi Evans recorded a low of 36 degrees at Oakesdale early Saturday morning.
Husband Al Evans said he heard reports of 31 degree temperatures just outside of Oakesdale.
The freeze damaged still growing spring crops from Pullman to Oakesdale.
Mike Mandere, executive director of Whitman County’s office of the Farm Service Agency, said his office has received several reports of possible damage to spring grains and pulse crops from scattered locations.
“We haven’t seen a whole lot of damage, but that zap could be enough to lower yields,” he said.
The possibility of lower yields from the frost was significant enough for Mandere to issue a flash report to the USDA Tuesday.
The flash report is the preliminary step in alerting officials that crops could be damaged by weather enough to warrant a disaster declaration.
Gardeners from Steptoe to Pullman were also hit by the cold snap, as many awoke Saturday morning to blackened leaves on young corn and tomato plants.
The freeze continued one of the more bizarre weather years in memory.
Snow and wind closed off access to many parts of the county from November to April.
Another weather record was broken June 10, when the NWS recorded 1.5 inches of snow. That marked the latest date measurable amounts of snow has fallen on the Palouse in the 68 years the NWS has recorded weather here.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Is Global Cooling Underway?
From today's Whitman County Gazette: