Sunday, Monday rainfall breaks MOV dry spell

Sunday, Monday rainfall breaks MOV dry spell

Photo by Michael Kelly Pedestrians cross Putnam Street in downtown Marietta Monday afternoon during the final phases of a rain storm that moved into the area Sunday evening.

A seven-week spell of dry summer and early fall weather broke Sunday night as the skies opened and dropped between two and three-and-a-half inches of rain across the Marietta area in the space of several hours.

It was the first significant rainfall for the area in seven weeks.

“The last time we got more than a quarter-inch was Aug. 8,” Dave Marsalek at the Charleston office of the National Weather Service said Monday. “It really has been a while. It’s been abnormally dry, certainly, definitely on the abnormal side.”

According to weather service data, this September tied for the third driest on record, with only 0.55 inch of rain. On Monday morning, most reports from the Parkersburg-Marietta area showed between two and three inches of rain, he said.

The September rainfall total was 2.53 inches below normal for the month.

It’s a stark contrast to September 2018, when 7.99 inches of rain fell, tying it for the third-wettest September since record-keeping began.

Tom Witten of Witten Family Farms said the dry end to the growing season helped the crops.

“Most are really done for the year,” he said Monday. “We have perennial crops, like the raspberries, where we had to use irrigation, and we’ve done some irrigating of sweet corn and tomatoes.”

The dry weather, he said, meant an early harvest for row crops such as soybeans.

“Last year it took well into December to get the crops in, so this feels like the polar opposite of last fall,” he said. Harvesting was delayed by the rain last year, with mud bogging down the equipment.

“Last year we had soybeans rot in the field; this year it was beautiful,” he said.

The Witten produce stands will remain open until Halloween, with pumpkins, sweet corn, tomatoes and honeycrisp apples, among other items, available.

Marsalek said the rain was expected to taper off Monday night, followed by warmer and drier weather through the weekend.

“The rest of the week looks drier, with a steady warming trend, but not the sort of heat we’ve had recently,” he said. “I’m pretty sure we’re done with that. We’ll be back to mid- to upper-70s into the weekend.”

In terms of heat, September was also high in the record books. With a mean temperature of 72.6 degrees, 6.4 degrees above normal, it was the fourth warmest September on record for the Parkersburg-Marietta area.

Michael Kelly can be contacted at mkelly@mariettatimes.com.