Monday, August 11, 2008

Rain, rain go away

Oh, Capital Region. Why so soggy this year? According to the folks at the National Weather Service, A-Town and surrounding areas have received twice the usual share of rain this summer. This is no surprise to those of us that have had to carry umbrellas to the track, the pool, the barbecue and -- oh hell, just about everywhere.

So why is it so wet this year?

We asked Brian Frugis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.

How do you account for all the storms we're having this year?

Many times when we have summers that are hot and dry there will be a ridge -- a large
amount of air with high pressure. This year we have the opposite of that. A lot of frontal
systems with areas of very low pressure. We call it a trough. The upper level pattern has been favorable for storms. And that pattern has been pretty stagnant.

How much rain have we gotten this summer?

The average rainfall for July in the Capital Region is 3.5 inches. This year we measured 6.94 inches at Albany International Airport. In June we got 5.45 inches this year. That's normally around 3.74.

It seems like quick thunderstorms are just cropping up all over the place this year. Are seasons like this harder for meteorologists to predict?

More active years like this one keep us on our toes. They require a little more attention. They can be difficult to predict.

Are seasons like this one more fun for meteorologists? Do they look at all the colors on the radar and go "ohhh coool?"

(Laughs) They can certainly be interesting for us, but we're in the business of trying to protect people from harm, so we do take them seriously.

So is this going to stop soon or should we start lining animals up in pairs?

Most of the storms this year have brought a lot of rain for short periods, so there's been some flash flooding but things time to dry up a bit in between. But it looks like this pattern will continue for at least the next week or so.

The Bottom Line
Why's it been so rainy? Because we've been stuck in a pattern of very low pressure (also know as a trough). And it's doesn't look the weather will be unstuck anytime soon.

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