Surprise: Summer rainfall ‘clumped,’ but still average

Staff Writer

By cindy tietjen

Beach chairs are beginning to gather dust. Bathing suits have been replaced by raincoats. It has rained 19 of the last 22 days. But, believe it or not, this is all normal.

According to New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson, who is based at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, the amount of rain we have received this summer has not been excessive or above average.

"Granted, we have had an unusually long streak of rain, but you have to realize that it was all clumped together," said Robin-son. "The first half of the summer was dry, and there was very little rain. Now in the second half, we are getting all the rain we missed."

Robinson said that the first 20 days of July were cooler and drier than normal. He added that normally the rainy and sunny days are staggered, not clumped together as they have been this year.

One good thing about all the rain is that produce is easier to grow in this type of weather.

"Last summer was so hot and dry, the growing season was practically non-existent," said Robinson. "This summer has been wonderful for growing."

Robinson said the summer was divided into two sections, the first half being cool and dry, the second half being cool and moist.

"In general we have been under a very persistent atmospheric pattern since June," said Robinson. "But one thing that has been common is the lack of a heat wave, and there doesn’t seem to be any on the rise."

As for Monmouth County, Robinson said that some parts have seen more rain than others.

"Coastal Monmouth County has seen heavy rains this month," said Robinson. "The easterly part of Monmouth County, such as Long Branch, saw more accumulation than the westerly portion."

As for the Aug. 7 storm in the Freehold Township, Marlboro area which had reported winds of up to 90 mph and which some thought was a tornado, Robinson said it was actually a downburst.

"A downburst is a very quick rush of air that drops down very quickly," said Robinson. "It is like a hand coming down and slapping a surface. And although it cannot be called a hurricane, it can do as much damage."

According to Robinson, during a downburst, winds can be anywhere from 80 to 100 mph.

As for what we can expect for the last few remaining weeks of the summer, Robinson predicts more of the same.

"It will most likely be a little chilly, and temperatures will be normal or below normal," said Robinson. "Also, precipitation will continue on and off."