ASK TOM WHY:

Dear Tom,

We have had very little rain and snow this winter. In years whose winters were also dry, what happened in the following springs and summers? Did the dryness persist?

— Casey Waldkoetter

 
Dear Casey,

The dryness tended NOT to persist in the spring seasons (March-May) following dry winters, nor in the summers (June-August).

As of Jan. 19, total precipitation this winter season (since Dec. 1) stood at 3.33 inches. Beginning with the winter of 1870-71, 25 other winters recorded similar precipitation totals through Jan. 19. Precipitation in the following 25 spring seasons averaged 10.34 inches, versus the long-term average of 9.43 inches, and only three springs were dry.

Average summer rainfall was 11.89 inches, versus the long-term average of 10.84 inches, and only five summers were dry.

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