The spell is broken

PAT FRIDGEN
HOT SUMMER: The thermometer at Carl’s Drug Store on North Antrim Way hit 102 degrees around 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 7.

The heat spell of 2010 is apparently over. Not since Sept. 7 has the thermometer hit 90 degrees in Greencastle. That was the last of 49 days of extreme temperatures, which began in April and created one of the hottest summers in history.

Greencastle weather observer Robert Wertime noted July was marked by 21 days in the 90s or higher. The two-week stretch of July 15 to 29 was anunrelenting heat wave. July 7 hit 100 degrees, and July 23 and 24 peaked at 101 degrees. "It was dreadfully hot," he said, echoing comments by residents for months.

The introduction of what was to come occurred on April 6 and 7, followed by 90-plus days on May 27 and Memorial Day, May 31. June featured seven days and August 13 days of temperatures ranging throughout the 90s. September eased out of summer with four hot days in the first week.

That should be it for 90 degrees, but Wertime cautioned, "We might have another day or two sneak in in September or October. Usually after Labor Day, it's over."

It has happened before, but not much. In the last decade, September temperatures reached the 90s once in 2002, three times in 2007 with the latest the 26th, once in 2008 and now four in 2010. Greencastle had not seen any triple-digit temperatures since the summer of 1994.

Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer, on his website i4weather.net, called this summer the hottest on record. To the north, Wertime said weather analysts proclaimed it the second hottest summer in the Harrisburg area.

What's next?

The Farmers Almanac predicts a colder and drier winter than normal. Wertime said meteorologists from Penn State concurred. He also forecast weather colder and drier than usually seen in Greencastle, beginning in November. However, based on track records of weather patterns, which were not an exact science, anything could happen."There 'should be' less snow," he said, "but summer should not have been this dry either."

Indicators had not shown that the area would be over nine inches below normal precipitation levels year-to-date, he said. Rains frequently stopped in the Shippensburg/Chambersburg locale, failing to reach Greencastle. Nevertheless, Wertime remained practical about the possible winter conditions. "It's only a guesstimate."