Dry spell hits Harford County – but not too dry

It's been dry in these parts, though apparently not too parched.

The drought facing Harford County is considered "abnormal" by the National Weather Service, but some municipalities aren't seeing any effects.

Calvin Meadows, a meteorological technician with the National Weather Service for the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., region, said the county is experiencing abnormally dry weather. Fortunately, however, there were finally some widespread thunderstorms early Thursday evening.

In Aberdeen in particular, the one area for which he had solid numbers, Meadows said the total precipitation for June was 1.44 inches, which is 2.59 inches below normal.

"It's been a little bit dry up there for the last month," he said of Harford.

In addition, Meadows said, it looks like the dry weather will continue into September and it was "too close to call" on whether there would be a change in precipitation in the next three months, as well as whether there would be any significant changes in temperature.

There is a continued chance of showers and thunderstorms through Friday evening, he added.

Despite the lack of rain over the past six weeks, Havre de Grace city spokesman Jim Newby said the dry spell isn't affecting the city's water supply and the river is higher than it usually is this time of year.

"We're not having any problems," he said.

Joel Caudill, deputy director of public works for the county, gave a similar assessment.

Although they are aware of the dry spell, Caudill wrote in an e-mail, the water supply thus far is at a normal level. Shallow groundwater levels, he added, are close to the norm, as are base flows in the streams, which are supplied by shallow groundwater.

"The county's public water system has a diverse source of supplies consisting of multiple surface waters and groundwater, which provides reliability in dry conditions," he wrote, "so at this point the county-owned water supplies are operating in a normal mode (but we remain hopeful for rainfall)."

Caudill continued with information on the water systems of the town of Bel Air and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Edgewood Area, saying they are both supplied from Winters Run, which can diminish to a low flow during dry spells, but so far is "adequate."

This a different story from the agriculture outlook in Harford County. C. John Sullivan, deputy chief of staff for agricultural affairs for the county, said that although the hay and straw producers are thriving, other local farming activities are not.

Overall, Sullivan said, the agricultural industry would be fine and it has endured dry summer months before, but he acknowledged that Harford farmers are feeling some effects from this summer's weather.

He specified that grain farmers are "coping" and livestock farmers, in particular, have been impacted.

"Pastures are drying up a bit," he added. "That does have a negative impact on livestock producers."

Likewise, vegetable farmers, too, are "feeling the lack of rain," he said.

"If they have irrigation, they're probably using it quite a bit," he said. "If they don't they're probably wishing they have it."

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