Weatherman - Summer will reign

June 21, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER


Today is officially the first day of summer, but as of Friday afternoon the National Weather Service was forecasting a high of only 70 - and more rain, with a flood watch in effect most of the day.

Meteorologist Jim Travers said a lot of callers to the Washington forecast office want to know whether summer is coming this year.

"It will," he promised. "Starting Sunday - and I'm keeping my fingers crossed - I'm hoping it will look and feel a little bit more like summer and return to more normal June weather."


So far, the June weather has been anything but normal. According to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site,, the Hagerstown area has had 7.37 inches of rain as of Friday - nearly twice the normal average for the entire month.

The weather has been unusually cool, too. The normal high temperature for June is 82.6. So far, only six days out of the whole month have come anywhere close.

High temperatures for May were low, too, by an average of nearly 7 degrees at 67.5. The normal average high for May is 74.3.

Why all the chill and damp?

Low pressure systems, Travers said.

"We have had the most persistent low pressure pattern that I've seen in a long time," he said. "It is going to change for the short term; the question is whether it will stay. I'm telling everybody to enjoy the change now."

The wet weather has set back the growing season and forced some farmers to change their planting plans, said Washington County Extension Agent Don Schwartz. The first cutting of hay has been delayed for nearly a month, and mold and diseases brought on by the incessant rains have begun to affect some crops. Cover sprays and fungicides applied to fruit trees have washed off, he said.

One business that has profited from the wet weather is the Totes-Isotoner store at Prime Outlets in Hagerstown.

"We are actually up 20 percent in umbrella sales," said store manager Laura Dawson. "We've had a big increase in all our rainwear."

Last month's total sales were at 120 percent of the store's goal, she said.

There has been a down side. Dawson said there's been a big decrease in sales of one of the store's other items.


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