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Dry summer comes to moist end

September 23, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

The summer of 1997 officially ended at 7:56 p.m. Monday, marking one of the driest growing seasons in recent years, according to the National Weather Service.

But the drought-like weather wasn't a record-breaker, said Jim Wiesmueller, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

Rains earlier in the month that dumped between five and eight inches of rain on the Tri-State area did a lot to relieve dry conditions, Wiesmueller said.

Frederick and Washington counties were among the hardest hit during the drought, which destroyed at least half the corn crop, officials said.

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Rainfall to date this year in Hagerstown was 26.08 inches. By comparison, more than 60 inches fell last summer, officials said.

Some areas were drier. Clear Spring, for instance, logged only 21.4 inches for the year so far.

"I can't say it's the driest since when, but I know it's one of the driest in many years," Wiesmueller said.

The general outlook for fall is near normal temperatures and precipitation, Wiesmueller said.

Looking ahead to winter, the situation starts to look a bit threatening.

Weather prognosticator's are starting to talk about El Nino, an abnormal warming of the waters off the West Coast that some believe will result in a rough winter.

So far, the National Weather Service is only calling for near normal precipitation and above normal temperatures as the area goes from fall into winter, Wiesmueller said.

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