Thunderstorm cuts the heat

That noise you heard was the cold front sweeping through. The thunderstorms that crossed the region this afternoon dropped temperatures at BWI-Marshall from 91 degrees to 75 degrees between 1 and 2 p.m. As the sun returned, readings again began to climb, but the worst may be behind us.

The storm that crossed Baltimore City left 1.26 inches of rain in the gauge at The Sun's station, Calvert and Centre streets. That brings the month's total to 5.81 inches. The airport total stopped short at 0.41 inch - exactly the same as we saw in Sunday's storm. The July total is now 4.36 inches. The July average is 3.85 inches.

From here, we should see skies clear off and humidity levels drop as cooler, drier air moves in from the north and west.

Daytime temperatures should stay in the 80s at least until the middle of next week, according to the forecast from the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. Then we can look forward, again, to daytime highs in the 90s. The summer's total so far: 41 days at 90 or more, and counting.

Even before this latest rain, Central Maryland had dropped out of the dry (colored) sections of the state's Drought Monitor map. The proportion of the state experiencing dry conditions nevertheless increased during the week ending on Tuesday as dry conditions pushed west to Garrett County. Washington County and most of Frederick remain in moderate drought, as do portions of Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore.

Worcester and most of Somerset counties have slipped back into severe drought.

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