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Region gets soaked

August 22, 2007|By HEATHER KEELS

TRI-STATE - In two rain-soaked days, the skies have dumped more precipitation on Hagers- town than the city saw in the entire month of July, bringing much-needed relief after months of drought-like conditions, local weather experts said.

Meanwhile, in Franklin County, Pa., a countywide burn ban was lifted Tuesday.

The Hagerstown weather station maintained by weather observer Greg Keefer recorded 1.25 inches of rain Monday and measured an additional 1.22 inches by Tuesday evening, helping to bring the total for the month well beyond the average 3.32 inches.

As a result, plants and lawns in the area should be looking a little greener, though agriculture and water supplies remain affected by an overall lack of rain this summer, said Chris Strong, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"It certainly helps, but it's going to take a little more than that to erase what we've piled up over the past few months," Strong said.

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The National Weather Service has recorded 17 inches of rain in Hagerstown so far this year, about 10 inches behind the region's norm of 27 inches, Strong said.

"We've got some deficit to erase, certainly," he said.

However, Keefer's weather data presents a more optimistic picture. His station recorded 25.57 inches of precipitation so far this year, which is exactly the average total his station has historically recorded for the region through the end of August.

In West Virginia, the Martinsburg area received more than 2 inches of rain since Sunday, said Andy Woodcock, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

Two-tenths of an inch fell Sunday, 1.25 inches fell Monday and a little less than three-quarters of an inch was recorded through 5 p.m. Tuesday, Woodcock said.

In Pennsylvania, Franklin County has been drenched in recent days, prompting the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday to end the 30-day countywide burn ban it put in place 19 days earlier.

Waynesboro, Pa., received a total of 2.76 inches of rain Monday and Tuesday, weather observer Todd Toth said. For the month, rainfall there is 6.53 inches, well above the average August rainfall of 3.4 inches, he said.

July had 2.17 inches of rain, Toth said, but the total was only about three-quarters of an inch until July 29.

Chambersburg weather observer Jerry Ashway said he has recorded 3.53 inches for the month, with more than 2 inches falling since Sunday.

"Most of the county has had 4 inches in rain in the last 10 days," Commissioner Bob Thomas said.

The burn ban was put in place Aug. 12 after the board consulted with the Franklin County Fire Chiefs Association, he said.

The county spoke with Rusty Stoner, president of the association, and Department of Emergency Services Director Jerry Flasher before lifting the ban Tuesday, Thomas said. The ban was lifted immediately, he said.

Thomas cautioned that the lifting of the county burn ban does not supersede any burn bans imposed by other municipalities. Residents should consult their local governments to find out if their bans are still in effect.

"Common sense has to always be used in outdoor burning," Thomas said.

Anyone planning controlled burns much larger than a campfire should tell their local fire company first, he advised, since people sometimes mistake them for something more serious.

Staff writers Don Aines and Dave McMillion contributed to this story.




Monthly precipitation totals for Hagerstown:



2007 Average

January 2.202.54

February 2.282.46

March 4.583.05

April 3.63.17

May 1.273.87

June 3.483.83

July 2.343.33

August* 5.823.32

Total Jan-Aug: 25.5725.57

* August 2007 total is through 6 p.m. Tuesday

Source: Greg Keefer's weather station (www.i4weather.net)

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