EUGENE, Ore. - It’s official – 2013 was the driest year ever recorded in Eugene.
According to the National Weather Service, the 21.19 inches of rain that fell last year were the lowest since 1944, which held the record at 23.26 inches. The weather service started gathering Eugene’s weather totals in 1890.
While weather specialists used to collect data manually, the numbers now come from a specialized piece of equipment called the Automated Surface Observing System. The man behind the machine, Scott Knutson, says he’s come to one conclusion after years of watching the city’s rainfall totals dwindle.
“This is by far the driest year I’ve seen," the certified weather observer said. “Who knows… maybe next year we'll have a record amount of moisture but this year, for the most part, it’s been pleasant."
Knutson said his job is to process the data that comes from the ASOS, while also manually checking meters to ensure it is functioning properly.
He said the dry spell has had some effects on Eugene. Knutson has seen it's made for more frequent flying at the Eugene airport.
As it turns out, the drought didn't affect many crops thanks to alternative water sources. There are two rivers and 13 water reservoirs that supply the city with water.
"Things don't always turn out the way people think with the weather,” Knutson said.
Even though 2013 is the driest year on record, it also held the wettest September for Eugene. The city also made a record of the most snowfall seen since 1970 – a total of 7 inches.
“When i first came here in '85 it would snow 6 or 7 times a year. Now if it snows every other year it’s pretty surprising. In fact, that’s why your news story of the year was the snow."