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Area only gets a sprinkle when a deluge is needed

February 27, 2002|BY ANDREW SCHOTZ

A sprinkle of rain fell on Hagerstown Tuesday, a brief respite in a long-standing area drought.

Greg Keefer, a weather observer in Hagerstown, reported at his Web site that about .01 inches fell around noon.

The monthly precipitation total was listed at .20 inches and the year-to-date total was listed at 2.52 inches.

Keefer reported on his Web site that this may end up to be the driest February on record, and one of the warmest. The Web site lists data going back to 1898.

The previous February low for precipitation was .21 inches in 1968.

There is hope for rain at the end of the week.

Meteorologist Dewey Walston with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va., said there is a chance of showers Saturday and Sunday. The high temperature each day is expected to be in the 40s.

Walston said not to count on the weekend rain boosting the water table. "In a drought, it seems to evaporate beforehand. It tends to feed on itself," he said.

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The Hagerstown-area forecast for today called for partly cloudy skies, with the high in the upper 30s. Thursday and Friday were expected to be sunny, with highs around 40 degrees, Walston said.

Keefer's Web site says Hagerstown's precipitation since January 2001 is about 14 inches below normal.

A drought watch remained in effect in Washington County, meaning residents should take care in their water use.

Frederick County, Md., is under a drought warning, which is one step more severe.

Mandatory water restrictions were imposed on residents in the Mount Aetna area, southeast of Hagerstown, more than three months ago.

On Friday, officials in Boonsboro and Keedysville asked residents to voluntarily conserve water because springs and wells are not recharging.

And the Washington County Water and Sewer Department has begun asking 1,400 customers in Sharpsburg, Highfield, Sandy Hook, Elk Ridge and Clear Spring to conserve water.

Suggested conservation measures include taking shorter showers and washing only full loads of laundry and dishes.

Staff Writer Kimberly Yakowski contributed to this story.

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