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Forecasters predict dry autumn

September 23, 1998|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

The dry weather faced by the Tri-State area during much of the summer is not over yet even though the seasons changed at 1:37 a.m. today, forecasters are predicting.

Thus far, .87 of an inch of rainfall has been measured in Hagerstown during the month of September, according to weather observer Greg Keefer.

Keefer said 39.13 inches have fallen for the year.

Area farmers at Clopper Orchards and Harding's Orchards, both of Smithsburg, said that despite the scarcity of rain, they harvested a healthy crop of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn.

Donald Harding, of Harding's Orchard, attributes the plentiful crop to the spring's rainfall.

"The early moisture kept them from drying out," he said.

While little rain fell in July, August and September, the area had an unusually wet spring, said Dewey Walston, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

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The weather pattern has been dictated by the jet stream in North America, Walston said.

This year we can expect a cool and dry fall, which is typical, said Walston.

"The jet stream has been moving northwest to southeast over our area and when it flows that way doesn't allow moisture to come in from the Gulf or North Atlantic," he said.

But, he said, "There's no reason to explain why it persisted so long it just has."

Typically, summer and fall are dry times of year with little rainfall, said Walston.

Even though the fall is expected to be dry, that is not necessarily an indication of what we can expect come winter.

"There is no connection between the current dry spell and winter weather. It has nothing to do with it. It's up to La Nina," he said.

La Nina is a mirror image of the weather phenomenon El NiƱo, which is caused by a warming off the Pacific, he said.

"What that spells for the winter, we don't know," he said.

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