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So far so good but it could still get hot and dry

This time last year, Paris was on mandatory water conservation and things were so hot and dry that Logan County Judge Gus Young banned the use of fireworks.

This year, things are much different and the major difference is near normal rainfall and lower average temperatures.

Through June, Paris has gotten 25.1 inches of rainfall as measured at the city’s water production plant, 1.3 inches above normal and 5.6 inches above the amount of rain the city got through June 2012. Through June 2012, Paris got 19.15 inches of rainfall, 4.6 inches below normal. Paris finished 2012 with rainfall 17 inches below normal.

This time last year, highs were routinely above 100 degrees and had been for several months. This year, we’ve had one day above 100 degrees and highs this week aren’t supposed to rise above 90.

The average high temperature for June was 87 and the highest was 101 on June 27.

“The average high for May last year was 88 and this year it was 79.5,” said Jason Cauthron, manager of the city’s water production plant. “In June, the average high was 86 and last year it was 96.”

Sufficient rain and cooler temperatures have also resulted in a much lower water demand than last year, Cauthron said.

However, it could still get hot and dry.

The National Weather Service forecast for July through September, is calling for warmer than normal temperatures and an equal chance of above normal, normal or below normal rainfall. The average high in Paris in July and August — the hottest months of the year here — is 92. The average high in September is 84. Average rainfall in July is 3.5 inches. The average rainfall in August is 3.1 inches and it’s 3.9 inches in September.

Cauthron said that right now, the city is in good shape. The highest water demand this year came on Thursday, June 27 when the high temperature was 101 degrees.

Also, rainfall this year has been enough to keep City Lake, the primary water source for Paris, full. Cove Lake, the city’s secondary water source, is also full. That wasn’t the case this time last year. Water levels in both lakes were dropping this time last year and had been for several months.

“This time last year, City Lake was already down by a couple of feet already,” Cauthron said.

For most of this year, water in City Lake has been spilling over the earthen dam that creates the lake. It stopped running over last week. Last year, it stopped running over in April.

“I think we’re going to be in better shape with the lake this year,” Cauthron said.

One of the reasons is the city is installing a new vacuum pump on a floating water intake pipe that will draw water from the lake even if the lake is at very low levels, according to Don Reames, water department supervisor for Paris. Reames said it should be in operation by the end of the month.

“I think we’ll be in good shape this year,” Reames said.

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