Extremely dry November in Western Pa. no gift for holidays
By Matthew Santoni
Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Unless a sudden storm soaks Western Pennsylvania by Friday, November will be one of the driest on record.
With 0.38 of an inch of rain and snow measured since Nov. 1, the month is on pace to be the third-driest November since complete records started being kept in 1872, according to the National Weather Service in Moon.
Only November 1904 and November 1917 had less rainfall, with 0.22 of an inch and 0.28 of an inch, respectively.
“We're 1 to 2½ inches below normal across a lot of the eastern U.S. ... The jet streams have been carrying storms to the north of us or along the coast,” said meteorologist Fred McMullen. “The systems that do come through are usually pretty dry, bringing maybe a tenth of an inch.”
The weather service expects conditions to return to normal in December.
“It can only get wetter. There's only one way to go,” McMullen said.
December generally brings the region 3 inches of precipitation and an average temperature of 32.4 degrees.
Fire officials said the dry weather makes it more likely for cigarette or mulch fires to spread, especially among dry leaves.
Pittsburgh Deputy Chief for Fire Prevention Colleen Walz said, however, that firefighters have not seen more brush fires than usual for this time of year.
Residents should be careful when setting up outdoor decorations for the holidays, Walz said.
Dry lawns and leaves make it easier for sparks or arcs from improperly wired decorations and extension cords to start fires.
Christmas trees might need to be watered more frequently for the first few days. A Christmas tree gradually adjusts from the outdoors to an indoor climate, said Henry Nutbrown, owner of Nutbrown's Christmas Tree Farm in Collier.
“You'd expect for it to take up a lot more water in the first three days or so,” he said.
To prevent pre-cut trees from drying out before they're sold, operators of tree lots must be more careful to keep trees out of wind and sunlight and to spray them occasionally with water to slow evaporation.
The region's rivers, streams and reservoirs are still healthy despite the dry month, thanks in part to record rainfall dropped by the remnants of Superstorm Sandy in late October, McMullen said.
“Ironically, we got about 3 inches of rain at the end of October,” he said. “Our 30-day, 60-day stream flows and river flows are fine.”
So far, this November is tied with October 1901 as Western Pennsylvania's 11th-driest month ever. October 1874 tops the list, when just 0.06 of an inch of rain fell.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4-car crash near Fox Chapel snarls Route 28 traffic
- Landmark former school in Pittsburgh’s Hill District to incubate startups
- Democrats consider Pittsburgh for 2016 national convention
- Newsmaker: Leah Pileggi
- W.Pa. runners bask in Boston pride, help in ‘taking back the finish line’
- Wuerl tells faithful all Catholics are responsible for schools
- Allegheny County puts ‘bounty’ on woodstoves
- Population expansion in Western Pennsylvania hinges on immigrants
- Pope Francis inspires incredible optimism
- District attorney’s office takes paperwork from Wilkinsburg Middle School
- Garden project unites Homewood through self-sufficiency, veggies