The Olympia Regional Airport recorded only a trace amount of precipitation last month, just enough to keep the area from a rainless July, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jay Neher.
The area usually sees only 0.68 of an inch of rain on average in July, he said. The last month with a similarly low level of precipitation was August 2012.
July was a hot, dry month for most of Washington. No measurable rain was recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The last time that happened was 1951. The last recorded rain at the airport was on June 27.
This week, the dry conditions prompted the State Parks Department to announce a ban on campfires in all state parks until further notice. Campers will have to come up with alternatives for cooking their meals on most state lands. The bans are in place to help prevent human-caused wildfires.
A forecast for thunderstorms could just make things worse in Eastern Washington, where wildfires already are burning. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning Thursday for the east side of the Cascades and Columbia Basin because of the risk of lightning igniting dry grass and brush. Forecasters say thunderstorms could be severe, but should evolve into rain showers, especially north of Interstate 90.
Forecasters say the South Sound will have cloudy skies and high temperatures of about 70 on Friday, but the sun and 80-degree temperatures will return over the weekend.Staff and wire reports