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In Hagerstown, 2007 goes out with a raincoat

City ends year with above-average precipitation total

City ends year with above-average precipitation total

January 07, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - An October heat wave, a subzero day in March and one of the sunniest months ever recorded were some of the extreme weather events that kept Hagerstownians guessing in 2007, according to local weather data.

While the Washington, D.C., area experienced the driest year in the 44-year history of the Dulles, Va., weather center, a Hagerstown weather center maintained by local observer Greg Keefer shows the city ended the year with an above-average rainfall total.

Hagerstown received 41.3 inches of precipitation in 2007, compared to a norm of 37.96 inches, according to Keefer's site, www.i4weather.net.

In the late summer and early fall, many of the weather systems that crossed the eastern United States stayed farther north than usual, often not reaching below the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, said Greg Schoor, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

Hagerstown, though closer to the rain than Dulles, didn't escape a resulting drought. In May, normally the wettest month, Hagerstown saw only 1.27 inches, and in July, the city went 20 days with no more than a sprinkle, records show.

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However, July's drought was countered by a thunderstorm on the 28th, followed by a rainy August with four days that saw more than an inch of precipitation.

Hagerstown finished the year with the sixth-wettest December on record, Keefer said.

Normally a drier month, this December brought 5.63 inches of precipitation, with measurable precipitation falling 17 days out of the month.

Temperatures showed the same sort of off-kilter fluctuation as the rainfalls.

A warm January, when temperatures rose into the 60s on five days early in the month, was followed by a numbing February with 13 days on which the temperature never got above freezing, records show.

On the morning of March 8, Hagerstown temperatures dropped to minus 3 degrees Fahrenheit, the lowest temperature ever recorded for that date, Keefer said. It was only the fourth time since 1898 that the temperature in March had been below zero, he said.

Just five days later, the city thawed out with a sunny high of 76 degrees.

In early March, lows are normally in the upper 20s, highs in the upper 40s, records show.

Another notable month was September, which Keefer said was one of the sunniest months ever recorded, with an average of 81.5 percent sunshine.

"This is just unheard of for this area," Keefer observed on his site. "The only other month to come close was September 2005, with 73.3 percent."

October 2007 was the warmest October ever recorded in Hagerstown, with an average temperature of 61 degrees, Keefer said. That breaks the previous record of 60.5 in 1984, he said.

October's normal average is 54.8 degrees, but this year brought a heat wave early in the month, with temperatures above 80 eight days in a row. On Oct. 8, a high of 90 degrees tied with 1916 for the hottest temperature ever recorded on the date. That time of year, the high is normally about 70 degrees, Keefer's records show.

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