Rain deficit on record pace

Officially, neither Harrisburg nor Trenton has dropped the "D" word, but the precipitation deficit around here is becoming ever more significant.

As of 11:59 p.m. yesterday, this was the fourth driest Jan. 1-July 9 period in Philadelphia since recordkeeping began in 1874, with a mere 14.06 inches of rain.

The only drier such periods occurred in 1922, 12.38 inches; 1995, 12.95, and 1963, 13.69.

Generally, rainfall in the region has been about 70 percent of normal, and at the current rate, the 2012 precipitation in Philadelphia would finish at 26.87, which would make it the driest year on record by far.

Rainfall in Philadelphia has been below normal in each of the first six months of 2012, and 10 days in,not a splash has been measured in July.

For now, despite the snow-less winter, the reservoirs remain well above anything resembling drought level, and the rivers are flowing along close to normally. That's the harvest of record precipitation last year.

That said, we've noticed a distinct brown-ness creeping across the grasses, and a harvest of dust along the trails.

The workweek doesn't offer much in the way of rain possibilities, but the forecast takes on a wetter hope for the weekend.

In the morning discussion the National Weather Service makes note of potentially high moisture content in the atmosphere that could contribute to "torrential downpours."

In the meantime, we see a 100 percent chance of browning, increasing levels of dust, and growing water bills.

It won't help the flora that another heat wave is likely next week, although not as intense as last week's.

As we noted, those 12 straight days of 90 or better temperatures that ended yesterday constituted the fourth longest such streak in the period of record, dating to 1874.

And at this rate, another type of record could fall by year's end. 

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