A year later, the Jensen-Olson Arboretum Director & Horticulturist has once again found himself working hard to keep the botanical garden alive. The first rainfall for the month — plus seven straight days leading up to July 1 — came on Friday, putting an end to one of the longest dry spells in Juneau’s history.
“I really haven’t had a day off in a month,” Jensen said.
The capital city had gone 18 straight days without rain when the National Weather Service recorded 0.03 inches of precipitation at the airport on Friday, marking one of only 13 instances in Juneau’s recorded weather history of 18 or more days of continuous dry weather.
A shower overnight resulted in 0.04" of rain at our office. This is the 1st time we've had measurable precipitation (there was a trace on 7/3) since June 23rd! The #Juneau Airport had the same 18 day stretch of dry weather. Find data for your city https://t.co/gBvUnKpSpD #akwx pic.twitter.com/srDKl1N0lW
— NWS Juneau (@NWSJuneau) July 12, 2019
“It’s on the rarer side,” NWS meterologist Brian Bezenek said, “but it’s not uncommon to get 10-14 day dry streaks of some nice weather.”
The weather service is forecasting for more rain in the coming days, according to Bezenek.
“It does look like we could get some good measurable rain to help settle the dust and water the lawns and the flowers starting the early part of next week,” he said.
In addition to relieving gardeners, the rain is also mopping up smoke. The City and Borough of Juneau canceled an air emergency on Friday after seeing the levels of airborne particulates from wildfire smoke go down.
“The rain helps scrub out some of the smoke particles,” Bezenek said. “Some of the wind shift — and we don’t have a real strong wind aloft right now — it’s stopped pushing new smoke particles into the air.”
Back at the arboretum
Jensen said he’s watered the property over 30 days since mid-May, a large number considering there’s still two months of summer left.
“That’s just crazy to be watering a rainforest that much this early in the season,” Jensen said. “We’ve had dry summers, but when you start dragging the hose around in May, that’s kind of crazy.”
The last significant rain event at the arboretum took place during the third week of June.
“It was just over an inch of rain on the 17th, this (recent rain) kind of helped, but yeah I’ve been watering the last 25 days consecutively,” Jensen said. “It’s a major impact, it keeps me working around the clock. I’m moving water in the middle of the night to keep things going, keep things green.”
The arboretum’s well doesn’t have enough capacity to service more than one hose at a time, Jensen said.
“It takes four days to go from one end to the other to get everything watered,” he said. “When it was up in the 80s, that was too much time in between on some plants, and they let me know real quick that they were not happy.”
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.