With another 2-plus inches of rain Monday, June so far is as wet as May was dry

Last modified: Monday, June 29, 2015

HADLEY — At the end of May, Joseph Rex of Four Rex Farm said his corn and other vegetables were growing slower than normal due to the exceptionally dry weather — and he was hoping for a turnaround. “The rain has to be coming,” he said.

He was right.

In the month of June so far, rainfall has been above average. On Monday alone, around two inches fell in the Connecticut River Valley, according to Bill Simpson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Taunton.

“Everything loves the rain now,” Rex said Monday of his crops. “It’s nice to have a soaking rain like today.”

While the rainfall in May was less than half the average for the month, June so far has been the opposite. Even before Monday’s rain, the rainfall total was already slightly above average for the first half of June.

By 3 p.m. Monday, rainfall at a forecasting station at Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield totaled 4.57 inches for the month, according to the National Weather Service website. Almost half of that — 2.28 inches — had fallen Monday.

“When you add May and the first half of June, we’re almost back to near normal,” Simpson said of the rainfall totals.

The Northampton Department of Public Works on May 26 instituted a daytime ban on nonessential water use based on low flow in the Mill River. This month, the flow has been above 26.3 cubic feet per second for seven consecutive days, meaning that the city could technically lift the restriction.

But Edward S. Huntley, director of public works, said in recent years the city has opted to leave the restriction in place until the end of September. It can be confusing if the restriction is lifted and then reinstated — as it would have to be if the river flow again fell below 26.3 cubic feet per second for three consecutive days.

When it rains, it pours

Rex is pleased with Monday’s soaking because his farmland, mostly located off West Street, has soil that drains well.

But Bradford Morse, owner of Outlook Farm in Westhampton, was not so thrilled. He prefers drier weather because his soil tends to get too wet, he said, which can increase the chance of mold and disease.

“We didn’t need any more rain,” he said Monday. The rain may also prevent him from driving a tractor in some of his soggier fields, where he wants to plant pumpkins, winter squash and other late crops.

Morse is also concerned about the amount of rain because one of his big crops prefers dry weather. “Cherries hate rain — they pop and explode and get brown rot,” he said.

But they are still a few weeks away from ripening, and it’s too early to tell if Monday’s rainfall will cause the cherries to split, Morse said.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.


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