Day of rain takes a bit of bite out of drought

Drier weather is expected to close holiday weekend

September 02, 2002|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

Daylong rain, while providing a little relief from the drought, put a damper yesterday on outdoor activity for part of the holiday weekend, but forecasts promised barbecue-ready weather - including a bit of sunshine - for Labor Day.

The second all-day rain in less than a week brought 1 to 2 inches of precipitation across much of Central Maryland - with the heavier downpours mostly south and east of Baltimore. Parts of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties received more than 2 inches.

"The rain we've had is enough to reduce some of the short-term concerns; vegetation will show signs of improvement," said David Manning, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. "But the long-term drought problems persist."

He added: "We need many steady rainfalls before we end the drought's effect on ground water and stream flow."

The last rain brought August's accumulation to 3.36 inches at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. That is nearly four-tenths of an inch below normal for August, Manning said, and put the rainfall deficit at BWI at 15.62 inches below normal since Sept. 1 of last year.

Robert H. Murrow, spokesman for the city Department of Public Works, said yesterday that it was too early to tell how much the recent rains will help the city's reservoirs. They are normally 95 percent full at this time of year but stood at about 47 percent of capacity, down from 54 percent as of Aug. 1.

"It can't hurt," Murrow said of the rain.

The rain was expected to end late last night, with the next possibility of precipitation coming Wednesday.

And that provides a window of opportunity for the backyard barbecuer set to light up the grill for the holiday. The forecast: partly cloudy, with a high in the low 80s.

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