Good Tuesday to you, we're muddling our way through another stretch of dreary weather but you can't deny how beneficial the showers have been. Some places have seen over two inches of rain since the end of last week and the pollen counts have been held to a bearable level. Our unsettled conditions will continue through Saturday with no real dose of sunshine until Mother's Day. In the meantime, keep that raincoat as a part of your wardrobe.
A great question was asked in an earlier post by "J" in Charlottesville that was worth bringing to the front of the class. "J" asked how it's possible that we still have a rain deficit when it seems like one of the rainiest springs in a long time. You're right, "J", looking at the numbers we're close to normal with rainfall so far this spring, and we're already 0.75" above normal for the month of May. It does seem like it's been raining a lot here in central Virginia; I haven't been out on the golf course in ages. For a true understanding of why we're so far below normal this year, one only needs to look at the rainfall amounts since January 1 .
We finished the month of January 2.15" below normal. February was 2.79" below normal with only half an inch of rain for the entire month. March was 1.78" below normal, and for what it's worth April was only 0.28" below normal. Subtract our rainfall surplus of 0.75" this month and our total deficit since January 1 is 6.01". How did it get so large? It was the very dry months of January and February that largely contributed, and it's been very tough to recover since. To add salt to the wound the last four months of 2008 - September through December - were 5.07" below normal. Our overall rainfall shortage since September 1, 2008? A whopping 11.08".
Yes, I'll admit that's a lot of numbers, but in short despite the wet spring our deficit has swollen thanks to a number of very dry months dating back to last year. Luckily for the water tables we have more rain in the forecast. Sadly, my golf game is going to suffer if I can't go hit the greens.
One final note. The terms "average" and "normal" are thrown around quite a bit in meteorology. Some years are naturally dry, others naturally wet, other times scorching hot or freezing cold. It's these extremes in temperatures and rainfall amounts taken over a number of years that result in the numbers we refer to as "averages" or "normal". They merely set a reference point for comparison. There is no expectation that anything is to be normal - the atmosphere is always changing and there's no true definition of "normal" weather. It will be hot, it will be cold, we'll get rain and also go times without. It's all part of Mother Nature's magic.
Over & out-
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