Another soggy weekend expected

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BRATTLEBORO — If you happen to be wondering, it has been a particularly wet summer this year.

According to Paul Walker, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, rainfall amounts this year have significantly exceeded the annual average.

"In Springfield, for the last 60 days, they have received 10.73 inches. Normally, that's 8.16 inches, so it's 131 percent of normal," said Walker.

In Lebanon, N.H., the total over the past 60 days has been 10.67 inches, versus 6.92, or 154 percent of normal, and in Keene, N.H., 14.52 inches, versus 8.34, or 174 percent of normal.

Walker said it should dry out a little bit this weekend into next week, with the exception of showers on Friday night into Saturday morning.

"A few dry days is good news, but during the storms, you can expect up to 1 inch an hour," he said.

While there might be some localized flooding, said Walker, if it does happen, it will be in small streams and the tributaries of the Connecticut River and anywhere municipal storm drains can't sufficiently handle sudden downpours, such as downtown Brattleboro.

Even though we have had more rain than usual in the region, said Walker, the region is still drier than normal.

"We had a short-term drought, and we are starting to erase some of that," he said.

Most of the moisture that has been falling over the region has originated in the southern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, he said. A persistent area of high pressure off the Atlantic coast is helping to direct the "fire hose" of moisture, stated AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

"It's pretty typical for this time of the year," said Walker. "Warm and humid, though it has been a little more humid this year than last."

Other areas of the Northeast have been hit even harder than New England, according to information from Accuweather.

"The weather pattern this summer is one of the most dramatic outbreaks of rain ever to hit Pennsylvania and other states in the region in a non-tropical storm setting," stated AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

For example, at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, 4.34 inches of rain fell on Aug. 13, which shattered the old record for the date set in 1955. The location received more rain in one day than what typically falls for the entire month of August.

Some locations have already recorded their wettest summer on record, such as State College, Pa. Williamsport, Pa., is likely to have two back-to-back months of record rainfall. Following the wettest July on record, the wettest August on record is on the doorstep.

"A great amount of moisture will be available in the atmosphere on Friday along the Interstate-95 corridor," stated AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

While another lull in the pattern is likely early next week, another storm is forecast to push eastward during the middle part of next week. There is the potential for next week's storm to stall and create another flash flood concern, but if this storm manages to move swiftly through, it may be a "one and done" scenario as far as a shower or thunderstorm is concerned, according to AccuWeather.

We are about halfway through hurricane season, said Walker, and it has been a quieter year than usual, but given the saturated state of the ground, declining evaporation rates and no sign of prolonged dry weather, any tropical system that comes calling could lead to a regional flooding disaster.

Likewise with the saturated ground, any gusty thunderstorm, let alone a tropical storm, can topple scores of trees and lead to regional power outages.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151.

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