The rain of the past few days brought a welcome break to the unrelenting heat of recent weeks. And while the amount of rain since June 1 is slightly below normal for the period, the region remains about 2½ inches below normal precipitation for the year.
“We’re much closer to normal (for the summer),” said Kristen Yeager, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland.
On Friday, the Lorain County area recorded 0.78 inches of rain, according to official readings taken at Lorain County Regional Airport.
Another 0.89 inch of rain was added during Saturday’s on-and-off rain showers.
With those totals, the area is just 0.19 of an inch below the normal 6.55 inches of precipitation since June 1, Yeager said.
For the year, the gap is wider — 2.57 inches below normal precipitation of 21.69 inches since Jan. 1.
Yeager said the year-to-date figures factor in not just rain, but liquid from melted snow, which was on the light side this past winter.
One thing that has impacted area lawns, trees and crops this summer is the intense heat that essentially sucked moisture from soil left by recent rainfall.
“There was a lot of evaporation due to the hot temperatures,” Yeager said.
And while lawns, trees and crops are definitely taking a hit from the heat, the area is still well ahead of the sweltering summer of 1988.
This is, in part, because of ,the record-setting rainfall of 2011, when the region registered more than 65 inches of rain.
That figure was more than 25 inches above the 39.10 inches of average annual rainfall recorded from 1981 through 2010.
“We were well-above normal last year, and it carried over to this year,” Yeager said. “Soil moisture levels were higher than normal at the start of the (2012) season. We are still benefiting from last year’s excess. We could be a lot worse off had we not had such unusually high levels from last year.”
As of mid-July, this year’s drought was regarded as just edging into the top 10 list of worst droughts in Ohio history, according to the National Weather Service, which indicated the state’s worst all-time drought occurred from 1930 through late 1931.
By comparison, the 1988 drought was relatively short. Lasting March through July, it saw average precipitation for the month of June just 0.85 inches, the lowest on record.
The National Weather Service outlook for August through October calls for drier-than-normal conditions and above-average temperatures for the Midwest.
The immediate forecast calls for mostly clear to sunny conditions through tonight with highs in lower 80s, and daytime highs in the upper 80s for Monday with a chance of showers and thunderstorms Monday night.