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Washington's Wettest Spot Just Had Its Driest-Ever June

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Last month was the driest June on record for the wettest part of Washington State.

The Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park got .17 inches of rain last month. That’s less than half the previous record low from 1961 and well under the four inches that falls in an average June.

Ranger Jon Preston collects daily measurements at the visitors center there. He says the region started drying out in May. 

“Things really got crispy," Preston said. "And as a person who’s looked at this rain forest for many years, the moss just shriveled up and went into dormancy, and is sort of a skeleton of its former self.”

Preston says for the year, precipitation is trending about 20 percent below average at the Hoh Rain Forest station. That means heavy fire danger. The Paradise Fire is burning about 45 miles away, where it’s consumed more than a thousand acres of mostly remote forest. 

The average Hoh rainfall for June is 3.99 inches. The previous record low was set in: 1967 at 0.37 inches. And the new record low was set this June. For comparison's sake, the wettest recorded June was 11.04 inches set in June 1981

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Gabriel Spitzer is the Host and Senior Producer of Sound Effect, KNKX's "weekly tour of ideas inspired by the place we live." Gabriel was previously KNKX's Science and Health Reporter. He joined KNKX after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.
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