Despite the hopes in the long-range forecast last weekend, another week has passed with all the fronts producing far less rain than expected. A big high pressure is settling over us, giving us chilly winds this morning, and amazingly dry air.
Concord, New Hampshire, to our northeast, has only had 0,04 inches of rain all May, where it usually has 2.52 inches by the end of May 22. When I was out digging holes for some new asparagus roots yesterday, away from where I water, the top four inches of the dirt (exposed to full sun) were bone dry. The polar air over us was dry to begin with, and as the high sun warms it 30 degrees today, the dryness will become relatively drier, until humidity drop below 20%. With the winds gusty, any fires that get going in the woods grow “explosively”, and spread “uncontrollably”, so there are Red Flag Warnings out. My middle son has gone camping with his friends, and I’m wondering if he will be allowed to have a campfire. (I can’t imagine camping without a campfire.) (Where’s the romance?)
(Of course, In “Roughing It”, Mark Twain describes how his campfire got out of control on the shores of Lake Tahoe, and burned over a couple mountain ranges. That may not be exactly “romantic”, but it does make for good reading.)
We are finally starting to show up in the U.S. Drought Monitor.
This is a great honor, and once you are recognized it is not an honor easily lost. For example, a couple years ago Tesas, Oklahoma and Nebraska were suffering what was dubbed the “Permadrought”, as it was expected to last decades, and they can’t seem to rain their way out of drought status.
“Steve Goddard,” driving back to Colorado from Maryland, reports flood waters two feet shy of flooding Interstate 80 in Nebraska, with their “drought” still on the map.
Hmm. Maybe those maps aren’t so reliable, after all. Fortunately Dr. Ryan Maue produces wonderful maps over at the Weatherbell site, and Joseph D’Aleo used the map below to show just how little rain we have had in our area over the past 60 days.
(click to clarify and enlarge)
This shows us four inches below normal over the past 60 days, but fails to stress the fact that over the past 25 days we’ve had barely enough to settle the dust. Things will get drier as the polar high over us settles southeast and merges with the Bermuda High. Then winds will swing from northwest to south west, and temperatures will start to climb. They will likely get a little hotter than forecast, with little water in the soil to cool through evaporation. (I’m not sure the computer models take this into account.) We could be touching 90° (32.2° Celsius) by midweek. The hot air will get more humid, but the first chance of showers and thunderstorms looks like it will not come before Friday, by which point we will all be getting a bit crispy.