Early September Is the Driest Time of Year
By Heidi Sonen & Roscoe Shaw
This year has been blessed with timely rainfall that has kept the landscape green and lush. The grass has grown about 12 inches more than normal and we haven’t had a brown-out until the very end of August. We finished the last 12 days of August without rain and suddenly, everything looked baked.
But this is completely normal. Even though average rainfall is plentiful here in summer and fall, the heat and strong sun demand lots of water to keep plants growing and creeks flowing. Looking at the data, we are “dry” 25% of the time in August and September. July is dry 22% of the time and June 15%. October dryness lingers 13% of the time and the remaining months are almost never dry.
Long dry spells are actually common here in late summer and early fall. The average rainfall totals appear plentiful this time of year but probably half of it comes from heavy downpours from leftover tropical storms and hurricanes that drift over Virginia. When the tropical moisture misses, we often bake dry. That is very possible this year since a strong el Nino has developed. El Nino typically inhibits Atlantic hurricanes and that has been the case so far this season.
August temperatures averaged 84 and 66 for the high and low which is very close to average. Rainfall was normal early but the late dry spell left the month with just 2.06” at our house. Other locations generally had less. Average is over 4”. This summer has been notable for a lack of really bad weather. Heat waves have been generally bearable and severe storms have been much less frequent than normal. In other words, it was a great summer!
- Mint Springs 2.06”
- Batesville 1.88”
- Yancey Mills 1.89”
- Mountfair 0.83”
- Ivy 1.21”
- Wintergreen 2.95”
- Waynesboro 1.41”
- Nellysford 1.31”
- Univ. of VA 1.28”