Spring still cooling its heels

May 29, 1997


Staff Writer

For predictions on how long the area's cool weather will last, experts are looking to Western Greenland. They say a stubborn cold front there is blocking the normal jet stream patterns that bring warm, muggy weather up from the Gulf of Mexico at this time of year.

The usual balmy summer is on its way, according to Steve Zubrick, a meteorologist with the Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office of the National Weather Service. Weather patterns to the north are merely postponing the inevitable, he said.

"It's just a matter of time for the global pattern to change and allow the subtropical Atlantic to dominate our weather," Zubrick said.


Local temperatures collected by an automated weather system at North Hagerstown High School show the average temperature for May at about the same as last year's. It feels cooler because this year, unlike last year, started off warmer than usual.

The area had an average daytime temperature of 71 degrees for the first week of May and 71 degrees for May 21-27. Last year, the average daytime temperature for the first week of May was 69 degrees. But that average jumped to nearly 75 degrees by the third week.

Connie Lenhart, who runs North High's weather tracking equipment, said late-May temperatures are lower because the jet stream is further south than usual and the air has been dry.

Higher winds also cool things down. Meteorologist Richard Hitchens explained that when different gradients of air pressure meet they produce wind; the greater the gradient, the higher the winds.

There is an ongoing "battle between cooler air and warmer air," and the tension is producing winds, he said.

Zubrick believes Greenland's cold front will hold strong for now, allowing cold air from the north to dominate. He said the effect will be a continuation of cool, dry weather with only occasional "anomalies" of high temperatures, such as the area's May 19 daytime high of 91 degrees.

The following three-day forecast was made by two North High seniors, Stephen Adair, 18, of 814 Potomac Ave., and Tanner Bayer, 17, of 1226 Jackson Blvd.: Rain late today with temperatures in the upper 60s; early rain Friday with clearing skies by 3:30 p.m.; and a perfect Saturday with dry sunshine and temperatures into the high 70s.

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