A season to remember

September 22, 1994

The gentleness of this past month is something that Marylanders, particularly those in Central Maryland, can cherish and preserve as a precious memory of what Nature could bring to August-September hereabouts if only she would try.

Instead of the stifling insufferable heat and humidity that typically enshrouds this area, the sere yellow scorched lawns and the threat of an electrical brownout from air conditioner overload, the passage from summer to fall has been mercifully cool and green.

The fertile ground has held onto its moisture to produce lush green grass and bountiful elephant-eye-tall corn stalks and even prolonged the life of some annual flowers that usually perish before Labor Day. The powerful thunderstorms that ravaged the region earlier this summer disappeared, the humidity perceptibly lowered by the cooler air temperatures.

Autumn seemed to arrive a month early this year, the cool nights soothing and calming the warm sunny days. Meteorologists say August was nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than average, making up for the hotter than average June and July, when 28 days saw the thermometer bubble above 90 degrees.

The "Bermuda high" that dominates the Northeast's summer weather played a key role, felicitously moving farther eastward than normal, allowing Canada's colder air mass to slip down from the north and bless our region. Some places in Maryland got a bit too much rain and more damaging thunderstorms, but our spot in the middle of the middle Atlantic seemed just right at this time. Ocean City businesses, however, were bemoaning the early cool and the rough waves that drove tourists home before Labor Day.

"There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather," the English critic John Ruskin once wrote. But Ruskin never lived through a typical Baltimore or Washington August, else his Panglossian cheerfulness would swiftly vanish. We delight in the exceptionally bright, cool and decidedly pleasant weather that visited Maryland over the past four weeks, fully knowing what bad weather is.

But there may be a price to be paid soon. Snow by Election Day is the forecast of "The Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanac," which has informed the nation of its future weather prospects for nearly two centuries. We'll hope that is a myopic prognostication.

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