Record dry heat saps rivers and runs

by Lisa Schauer

It’s not your imagination. The weather this summer is hotter and drier than normal, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures recorded at the weather station located at Cacapon State Park south of Berkeley Springs shattered previous record highs for June, and continue to spike in July.

Normal levels of precipitation for June at the park are 4.93 inches. This year, less than an inch of rain, only 0.61”, fell in June, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Accumulated precipitation is down more than five inches so far this year versus last.

Heat advisories remain in effect, and the extended forecast calls for a mix of clouds and sun, with the possibility of scattered afternoon thunderstorms, as reported by The Weather Channel.

Hot, dry weather saps water levels in rivers and runs, affected by less rainfall and greater evaporation.

Water levels in the Potomac and Cacapon rivers are down about a foot from last year at this time, according to USGS river gages.

Warmer temperatures also cause plants to release more water vapor into the air, in a passive process called transpiration, which helps cool the leaves exposed to the sun.

Proper hydration is key to keeping yourself, your family, pets and plants from becoming too parched during abnormally hot and dry weather.

Weather officials continue to watch for drought conditions that can affect public water supplies.