Q: For some reason Payson uses the benchmark of 22 inches of moisture per year as being normal. In the last 25 years how many times have we reached that benchmark?
A: "The actual long-term average since 1949 is about 21.5 inches," town hydrogeologist Mike Ploughe said. "Thirteen of the past 25 years have actually been above average. But that's deceiving because in the late 70s into the 90s we were in a wet cycle so we got quite a bit more."
The last time the area was above average was in 1998, and that's the only time it's happened in the last five years. Last year's total was about 9.4 inches.
While precipitation has been above normal so far this year, Ploughe cautions against getting too excited.
"The long-term weather cycle suggests we've got a number of years left in the drought cycle," he said. "We just have a few wet bumps in it. It's a good thing, but the outlook for next 10 years still doesn't look good."
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