Quiet Weekend, Summer Ahead?

It is the first weekend of summer and that means all sorts of outdoor events are planned and remarkably still another quiet weekend is ahead.


Severe Weather a No-Show in June
The weekend is here and this go round it is the first weekend of summer. That means all sorts of outdoor events are planned and remarkably still another quiet weekend is ahead.
FestivALL in Charleston features more fun on Saturday with Wine & All That Jazz. Farmers Markets are open across our region as the first fruits and veggies of the season are arriving from farmers fields that have benefited from spotty spring rains or irrigation. Gallipolis, Olive Hill, Hurricane and Central City Huntington are among the Farmers Markets open for business.
In regard to our quiet climate, the weather never ceases to amaze me. Think back! When our severe weather season began prematurely early in late winter, March 2nd to be exact, violent tornadoes and hail storms criss-crossed our region. Salyersville and West Liberty Kentucky are still picking up the pieces and the rebuilding is just starting.
Two weeks later one of the most bizarre flash floods I have ever witnessed swallowed up the Mud fork watershed of Lincoln, Logan WV. That Thursday morning a series of drenching thunderstorms “trained” through the Guyandotte Valley of southern WV. Towns like Verdunville and Duvall were especially hard hit. The rush of water at the Southern Technical and Community College parking lot lifted cars and carried them away like they were toy boats.
With unseasonably warm air hanging in for days on end, the stage was set for a series of hail storms starting in March, through April and early May. Hail forms when the temperature in the clouds is cold and the air at the ground is warm. That combination presented itself for days on end resulting in the most hail storm reports in my 25 years at WSAZ.
But since mid-May the weather has taken a quiet turn with little fanfare weather-wise. In fact coming off a relatively dry winter-spring (most areas measured below normal rainfall in the January thru April period), we are at the cusp of drought as we eye the month of July.
So infrequent have the cold fronts and thunderstorms been, that our creek beds have slowed to a trickle and sandbars have appeared where just last year there were walls of high water. I am using the Mud River as a proxy for a summer drought. As the Mud goes, so will go the summer growing season I surmise.
Of course I have written extensively about the developing “ag” drought. But what is implied in that period is the lack of any severe weather. Save for a freak May Friday night when freak flash floods occurred in parts of Interior Southern Ohio (Athens, Jackson, Meigs Counites), the use of the term “severe” to describe our weather has been non-existent.
That trend should last until late next week when we will have to see if the next heat wave announces itself with some boisterous thunderstorms. Since droughts are contra-indicators to severe weather, late next week-weekend may be a good litmus test to see if drought is indeed about to become part of our daily vernacular.
It is soon county fair season and I sense lots of hot and dusty trails as I travel to spotlight the efforts of kids in 4H and FFA. But as the old timers like to remind me, “it’s always hot and it always rains at the fair”.
This year I am on board with the heat, but as for the rain, let’s just say show me the whites of their eyes!
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