November the wettest one ever

November 30, 1997

November the wettest one ever


Staff Writer

November ended as it began - in a driving rain.

It took only the first seven days of the month to shatter the previous monthly record for rainfall in Hagerstown. On Nov. 7, just over 4 inches of rain fell, pushing the total for the month past the 1972 mark of 6.54 inches, according to records kept by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

The National Weather Service has tracked a large number of storms passing across the country, meteorologist Dewey Walston said.

"There's been a lot of storms across the southern United States. The more storms you have, the more rain you have," he said. "It could be attributed to El Nino, I guess. The good thing about it is there's no cold air."


Despite the torrent in November, however, rainfall totals for the year remain only slightly above normal, according to records.

Sunday's .02 of an inch brought the monthly total to 7.92 inches. That makes the total so far 37.54 inches, a little more than 2 inches above the 35.12 yearly average through November.

Amid quickly darkening skies and continuing rain, would-be passengers huddled for cover under a narrow overhang at the Greyhound bus station south of Hagerstown.

"It's been cold. And the bus is, like, an hour late," said Dan Gilgoff, a George Washington University student passing through Hagerstown on the way back from a Thanksgiving visit to his home in Allentown, Pa.

Gilgoff, 18, said November's weather has not been any better in Washington, D.C.

"It's rained for six consecutive weekends, or something. It's insane," he said.

Boonsboro dairy farmer Donnie Beard, who lost $30,000 because of the summer's drought, questioned why the rains could not have come a little sooner.

"It helps the grass and stuff for pasture, but that's about it," he said.

Don Schwartz, Washington County's extension agent, said the rain might help a bit in the long run by replenishing ground water. But he said it does nothing for this year's crop.

"In fact, it actually interrupts some of the late harvest," he said.

Schwartz also said there has been so much rain that cattle have not been able to graze on certain days.

"If we could have taken some of those inches that made the record and placed them strategically throughout the year, we'd be in much better shape," he said. "Mother Nature doesn't exactly work that way."

The rain is good news for some, however.

Cavetown orchardist Nevin Lewis said November's rain will put his trees in a stronger position as they head into winter.

"The rain was a big help to us," said Lewis, of Lewis' Orchards and Farm Market. "Rain is really good for fruit trees."

The late rain is good news for Lewis, who said he lost between 10 and 15 percent of his crop due to the drought.

Forecasts call for a break in the rain in the coming days but a return to wet weather by Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

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