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Summer expected to be hot

June 21, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Area residents can expect a "hot, hot, hot" summer, said John Gresiak, Accuweather senior forecaster.

Summer officially begins today at 8:26 a.m. Known as the summer solstice, the first day of summer has the longest amount of daylight hours, according to infoplease.com.

Surges of hot weather broken up by some periods of relatively cool weather are what forecasters predict for the summer, Gresiak said.

"We are expecting the temperature to average slightly above normal," Gresiak said. "Surges of hot weather may only last a couple of days. It's not going to be continuously hot."

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The average low temperature for the summer months is 60 degrees, and the average high is about 82 degrees, Gresiak said. This year, temperatures are expected to be 1 or 2 degrees hotter, he said.

This summer will not only be hot, but also dry, Gresiak said. Hagerstown can expect between 9 and 10 inches of rain over those three months. The average rainfall during summer months is about 10 1/4 inches, Gresiak said.

The forecast is not one that makes a farmer happy.

"If we don't get any rain, I don't know what's going to happen," said Edwina Beachley, who takes her produce to the Hagerstown City Farmers Market.

Beachley said that when it's hot at night, everything ripens early and all at once.

"The strawberries were a week and a half early," Beachley said. "Strawberries are over already."

Normally, strawberries should ripen throughout the month of June, she said.

Last year, Beachley's black raspberries were in short supply because a dry spell hit just as the berries were ready to ripen, she said. Right now, sweet corn is her crop most affected by the lack of rain because the field has no irrigation, she said.

"I would prefer slow rains during the night," Beachley said. "I could take a good 3 to 5 inches a month if it's slow, not all at once."

Since April 1, the area has received only 6.49 inches of rain as of Tuesday at 5 p.m., according to records on www.i4weather.net, a Web site maintained by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

Normally during that time period, the area receives 11.22 inches of rain, said Megan Woodhead, an Accuweather meteorologist. That figure is based on a 30-year average, she said.

April was the rainiest month of the spring, with 2.84 inches of rain on record in Hagerstown, according to Keefer's Web site.

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