Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News 
                                A plume of smoke rises from the Swan Lake fire area as vehicles head south on the Sterling Highway on July 18, near Skilak Lake between Sterling and Cooper Landing.

Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News A plume of smoke rises from the Swan Lake fire area as vehicles head south on the Sterling Highway on July 18, near Skilak Lake between Sterling and Cooper Landing.

Kenai Peninsula suffering moderate drought

Kenai has seen a nearly 40% decrease in the average rainfall for the area from June to August.

It’s been a dry summer. National Weather Service meteorologist, Eddie Zingone, said as of data from Aug. 8, the Kenai Peninsula is experiencing a moderate drought, also known as a level one drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor — produced in partnership with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — measures droughts using five levels, level zero being no drought, but abnormally dry conditions and the fourth level being an exceptional drought.

Right now, most of the Alaska’s rainfall is in western Alaska and in the interior, Zingone said. He said residents of the central peninsula shouldn’t expect major rainfall until maybe the middle of next week.

“The rest of the week, through weekend doesn’t look like anything measurable,” Zingone said.

Between June 1 and Aug. 12, Kenai has received 1.51 inches of rainfall — a nearly 40% decrease in the average rainfall for the area, which is 3.88 inches of rain.

During the month of June, Kenai received 0.11 inches of rain. The average rainfall for the area in the month of June is 1.07 inches. In July, Kenai received 1.4 inches of rain, compared to an area average of 1.84 inches.

“While still below average, July isn’t quite as dramatic as June,” Zingone said.

Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 12, Zingone said there has been only trace amounts of rainfall, which means there was no measurable rainfall. In this period of time, there is an average of .97 inches of rainfall.

The last measurable rainfall the area received was July 28, and the area has had 15 days with no rainfall.

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