When you consider all the rain in Texas and Oklahoma this spring, our drought doesn’t seem so bad. If we had recorded a spring with the same percentage of above normal rainfall as we are currently below, there would have been a lot of flooding here in New England. Additionally gardens would be water logged and I’d be writing about fungus and rotting seeds in the ground.
The pattern out in the southern plains region of the country is the other side of the dry pattern we have seen since March. Weather behaves in waves and the crest and trough of each wave bring dry and wet weather. Typically, the waves moves through at varying rates and while they can linger in one area for a few days, it’s more unusual to have them get stuck this long. More rain and more flooding will be occurring there over the next few days.
Usual doesn’t mean unprecedented, it just indicates that in most years this pattern doesn’t happen, but it’s not that it hasn’t happened before. In time of course the pattern will shift back to one where New England sees more regular rain.
This week, the weather is being dominated by a Bermuda high. This high, with its clockwise rotation of air around it, is pumping a warm and humid air mass north. A few showers crossed through northern New England overnight, but have since passed off the coast.
The warm and humid air will be with us much of this week, but so too will a lot of clouds at times. This isn’t to say we also won’t see periods of sunshine, like this afternoon. When the sun is out along with the humidity, it’s going to look and feel like the middle of summer.
The added moisture in the air will also increase the risk of showers and thunderstorms. I don’t see any rain this afternoon, but there is a chance we see some tomorrow and again Thursday. In these types of patterns, showers and storms can bring heavy amounts of rain in small areas over a brief period.
If the soil where you live has become very dry, it can turn hydrophobic. This means the soil actually repels rather than absorbs water and this can occur in very dry soils. If this does happen, it will take a period of time when it does begin to rain, for the water to sink in, rather than run off. This is why many areas see flooding after a prolonged drought, the water doesn’t go into the ground, it runs off it.
Dry soil can also exacerbate heat. The sun’s energy is typically used up by the evaporation process and to heat the soil. If there isn’t any water to evaporate, more ultraviolet rays can heat the ground and in turn make the air hotter. This is another reason dry weather tends to lead to hotter summers.
The dry spring we have seen can lead to a hot summer, but there isn’t a perfect correlation. It’s obvious to say we could have a hot dry summer or a more typical one. The global pattern doesn’t support a record breaking summer, but weather has a way of surprising me.