Storms bring cooler weather, little relief

Last 4 months driest in state since rainfall tracked, say forecasters

August 22, 1999|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Sometimes a little bit goes a long way -- but not when there is a drought.

Storms in the area Friday swelled some streams and cooled temperatures a bit, but did not signal an end to the drought.

According to the National Weather Service, just under 1 inch of rain fell at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport Friday.

"Unless we get a continuing soaking rain over a long period of time, we're pretty much at status quo," said Susan Woods, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of the Environment. "But we appreciate every little drop of rain we get."

Maryland and other states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic have been struggling with drought conditions for the past few months. Forecasters have called the drought the state's worst in 70 years and say the last four months have been the driest since the government began tracking rainfall 105 years ago.

The National Weather Service recorded .96 inches of rain That contributed to 1.99 inches of rainfall in Maryland this month, .55 inches below normal.

The total precipitation this year has been 20.89 inches, 5.37 inches below normal.

Weather experts have said the area would need to be hit by some tropical storms to quickly make up the rainfall deficit.

The rain did provide relief from the heat yesterday in the form of a breezy day, with a recorded high temperature of 74 degrees. Forecasters said the next few days are expected to be dry and mostly sunny, with temperatures in the 80s.

The state was declared a federal agricultural disaster area earlier this month. Farmers hit hard by the drought are eligible for low-interest emergency loans and other relief.

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