It was, in fact, Prosser’s warmest year in at least a quarter-century. Although 2014 temperatures were consistently above normal, one period stands out from the rest.
Record crop yields, quality
“The mid to late portion of the growing season was an unusual and record-breaking time frame of seemingly unrelenting heat,” said AgWeatherNet meteorologist Nic Loyd. “July was Prosser’s all-time hottest month, which was followed by record warm months in August and October.”
A Web based, publicly available system, AgWeatherNet provides access to near real-time weather data and value-added products from Washington State University’s statewide weather network, along with decision aids for agricultural producers and other users.
Overall, the summer season was the hottest on record for the area, while October was the most significantly above-normal temperature month in five years. Highlights from this toasty time include a high of 109 degrees at the Tri-Cities on July 16, a low of 84 degrees at Wahluke Slope on July 13 and a high of 92 degrees at Mabton East on Oct. 6.
“Aside from heat and water stress concerns, Washington agriculture generally fared well during 2014,” said AgWeatherNet Director Gerrit Hoogenboom. “Many crops reported large yields and good quality.”
Brief, intense cold
However, there were also several interludes of brief but intense cold in 2014. This fact is a testament to how warm the rest of year had to be in order to claim the top spot from 1992.
In early February, an arctic outbreak led to several days of bitter cold and areas of heavy snowfall in eastern Washington. Prosser experienced the coldest February temperature since 1996 and the coldest month of February since 1996. February was slightly colder than the mild January of 2014.
In mid November, an arctic blast again sent temperatures tumbling into the 20s for highs and teens for lows in eastern areas. Several days earlier, many of these same areas had been unseasonably warm in the 60s and low 70s. The mean monthly low was cooler in November than in December.
Nic Loyd, WSU AgWeatherNet meteorologist, 509-786-9357, firstname.lastname@example.org