Weather switched from one extreme to another

January 02, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

Hagerstown in 2002 was wetter and hotter than in most years, Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer said.

Last year, the weather was colder and drier than usual, Keefer said.

The switch from one extreme to another, along with Mother Nature's unpredictability, is what makes observing the weather so interesting, he said.

For only the second time in the last 100 years, it snowed in Hagerstown on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, Keefer said. The other time was in 1962.

"You are witnessing history," Keefer said.

Hagerstown had the sixth hottest year since Keefer's records begin in 1898, he said. The average temperature in 2002 was 55 degrees; the average is 53.3.


Hagerstown had about 40 inches of precipitation this year, almost 2 inches more than the 37.96 average, Keefer said.

There were 26.54 inches of precipitation in 2001, the third driest year on record, he said.

The winter snow, ice and rain storms have increased water levels at wells and springs, Washington County Agriculture Extension Agent Don Schwartz said.

"It is definitely helping," Schwartz said.

Some highlights of the year in weather:

  • Wettest month: October, with 5.52 inches. The average is 3.27 inches.

  • Driest month: February, with 0.20 inches. The average is 2.46 inches.

  • Last freeze in spring: May 22, when there was a low of 31. Normally the last freeze occurs May 1.

  • First freeze in fall: Oct. 18, when there was a low of 31. Normally, the first freeze occurs Oct. 13.

For more local weather statistics, visit Keefer's Internet site at

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