By DAVID GREEN
Storms to the north, storms to the south. Even an occasional storm rolling diagonally to the east.
For people in this area, there was always the frustration of watching the distant dark clouds and knowing someone else was getting a shower.
On June 17, for example, 1.48 inches fell in Toledo and even more in some locations. In Morenci, a mere 0.17 of an inch fell.
At least that’s the way it was until Sunday afternoon when a thunderstorm moved in and left seven tenths of an inch of rain—the heaviest precipitation since the middle of the last dry month.
“So we had 1.12 inches in May and only 1.36 in June,” said George Isobar, Morenci climate observer with the National Weather Service. “Those two months alone put us behind about five inches. We have had only a couple good soakers in 55 days.”
One good thing about Sunday’s storm, he said, is that it didn’t come close to matching the severe thunderstorm warnings.
“There were storm cells heading this way that were said to be capable of hail up to two inches in diameter and winds reaching 60 miles an hour,” he said. “We had a little pea-size hail when the storm started around 5 p.m., but we escaped the damaging stuff. It was just a good, steady rain with a brisk wind that caused no major damage.”
Isobar said Sunday’s rain greened up the weeds in his yard rather well, but the surrounding grass is still yellow.
The U.S. Drought Monitor services were showing moderate dryness in this area last week, with severe dryness not too far away in western Williams County.
Thirty-six percent of Ohio was listed last week as experiencing at least moderate drought. The figure rises to 87 percent in Indiana. Sixty-eight percent of the Hoosier state was listed as suffering from severe drought or worse, and 23 percent as extreme drought.
Dryness is only half the story, Isobar said. There’s also the heat.
“We had 12 days at or above 90°, which made me surprised to see that the monthly average was only 1.6° above normal,” he said. “That’s because we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of cool nights.”
There were seven nights where the temperature dipped into the 40s and another 12 in the 50s. If you made it through the day, he said, a good window fan cooled things off most nights. On the other hand, there were also seven mornings when Isobar checked his thermometers and the temperature was already in the 70s.
“I got a reading from June 28 that I never expected to see—106°,” he said. “A temperature that high makes me wonder about my equipment, but I have an older thermometer also in the weather shelter and that one read 107°.”
He told that story to his contact person at the National Weather Service office who didn’t doubt Morenci’s hot times. That same day it was 106° in Fort Wayne, 104° at the station south of Goshen, 105° at Lima and 107° at Defiance.
“I’d forgotten that we had a 103° day last July,” Isobar said, “and I was wondering if 106 might be a record here.”
It was no record, he discovered. Just return to the great heat wave of 1936 when 109° was recorded on two dates in July, plus a 108 and a 107. There were seven days at 103 and above.
This year’s extra hot day set a daily record at the National Weather Service office in Toledo. A new record of 103° beat 101°—set in 1936.