Traffic, harvesting run into trouble from area's record rainfall

July 27, 2000|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

The record rain that fell on the Baltimore area yesterday was bothersome to motorists, causing dozens of minor accidents, and a mixed blessing for farmers, making it difficult for them to harvest produce.

Yesterday's 1.72 inches of rain eclipsed the record of 1.10 inches for July 26, set in 1971, said Andy Woodcock, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sterling, Va.

Through yesterday, 4.47 inches of rain had fallen in the area this month, 1.38 inches above average for July, Woodcock said.

"Normally, at this time of year, what we have over us is referred to as the Bermuda High ... which pumps very warm, humid air into the region with occasional thunderstorms," Woodcock said. "This year there's low pressure to our northwest, and as a result that's helping to keep us in a cool, moist airflow in the low levels of the atmosphere.

"It's not sunny and 94 degrees, and everybody's not at the beach or the pool, but this is very beneficial to the farmers," Woodcock said. "Luckily for the most part, we haven't gotten so much rain at one time that it has drowned them out or there has been very bad flooding."

Sarah Huber, whose family owns Huber's Farm in Bradshaw, about seven miles east of Golden Ring Mall in eastern Baltimore County, saw things differently. The rain has helped crops grow but made it difficult to pick produce before it goes bad.

"It's making our tomato vines rot. It's making our pepper plants rot," Huber said.

State police said that by early evening yesterday there were 33 weather-related accidents on state roads in Baltimore County.

In Anne Arundel County, dozens of minor traffic accidents occurred on slippery roads, but police reported no major injuries.

Sun staff writers Laura Barnhardt and Nancy A. Youssef contributed to this article.

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