April showers lacking

HUNTINGTON/CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Ten days into April and one thing for certain; namely, the “storied” April shower pattern is rather “uninspiring” so far. Sure it has rained on three of the first 10 days but the aggregate rains for the most part have been well under 1 inch. Of course the southern Coalfields did manage to see some downpour action on Monday but even the Tug, Levisa and Guyandotte Valleys are experiencing a dry meteorological spring (March thru May).

Coming on the heels of a wet winter, the abnormally dry March-early April pattern has some benefits. Among them low water and no risk of flooding on our rivers, a very pretty spring for ornamental trees and a good chance for farmers and landscapers to get ahead of the curve in plowing and planting before healthy rains return. With ground temperatures now bettering 50 degrees according to the UK extension service, the time to do some planting is close at hand.

Meanwhile in the spring dryness, folks are watering their lawns and shrubs and little league ballfields that are not being squeegeed are seeing the kids kick up a cloud of dust with every hook slide and ground ball. Of more immediate concern is the parched hillsides around the region. With dried old leaves and caked brown dirt showing up, the mid-April landscape is prone to brush fires. Any carelessly flicked match is a candidate to ignite a spreading brush fire starting Thursday when the winds will quicken and the temperature will soar. 80 degrees is in the crosshairs by Thursday afternoon.

Chances for rain increase on Friday but given the ambient dryness to the ground and air, climatology tells me the rains passing will be scattered at best. So in effect our next chance of a soaking rain will come on Palm Sunday more than a month removed from the last drenching downpour. Should we escape those downpours, I will examine the pattern more closely since a scorching summer is often born on the heels of a dry spring.

One final note, tree pollen levels are soaring now as the maple and oak trees emerge from their winter slumber. So until we get some good rain, the spring air will be laden with pollens. The peak of the season likely to occur next week.

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