LOCAL VIEW –Bermuda Dry—

We’ve switched from days with the high temperature around 45° to days with temperatures around 80°. (7° to 27° Celsius) It is quite a shock to the system, but the leaves are finally busting out on all the trees. This is important, as the duff is bone dry, and baked further by the hot sun.

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Already forest fires are in the news, and yesterday, while buying hoses to water my dry garden with, at a hardware store several towns away, I noted fire trucks from a different town rushing past to help with a brush fire on the lower slopes of Mount Monadnock.

As soon as you get some shade these duff fires tend to stop, as the shade allows dampness to grow even as the ferns and other shade-loving plants spring up. Of course, a bit of rain helps as well, but there hasn’t been any. Today’s cold front swept past without a sprinkle.

Here’s the past three day’s maps:  (Click to clarify and enlarge)  (Open to new tabs to compare.)

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You can see the Bermuda High appearing, which is a friend to New England as it brings us nice, warm winds from southwest. Usually the cold fronts that nudge south bring us showers, and wet the leaves, and create a nice, damp under-story in the shade, in the forest. However there has been no rain.

Over Florida you can see what may become Hurricane Ana starting to brew up.  That might bring us some drenching rains, if it came up the coast, however it is not fotrcast to do that.  Instead it is forecast to weaken (if it actually forms at all) and slide out to sea well south of us.

Not that all our south winds are rainy, or good. There are strange reports of “withering winds” in our New England lore. I dimly recall reading about a spring gale that imported hot, dry air all the way from Arizona’s deserts, just when all our trees were budding out and at their most tender. The trees were briefly blackened with withered new growth,  which caused the local population consternation because such a blasting of spring foliage seemed a rebuke from God. However the conditions then improved, (perhaps due to prayer and fasting.)

The only old record I can find of warm winds withering foliage involves some sort of hurricane in August, and can be found in the diary of Joshua Hempstead, August 20, 1713:

“A Hurrycane wch blew down Several Building & fruit trees Such as hath not  been known. It Blasted or withered ye Leaves & Like a frost, though warm wether.”

I wonder about this event, for there is no mention of rain in Joshua’s diary until the following day. Could the “hurrycane” have been strong winds associated with big storm’s bone-dry warm sector? Probably not, but they did not have satellite views in 1713, which leaves me scope for wonder.

I suppose that, if I really want to worry, I can pervert my wonder to fret, and worry about withering winds.  However I’m more inclined to merely be grumpy, about having to water when I want to plant.

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