The upside of downpours: May showers can be good

  • Raul Colon makes his way to Amherst from work in Florence in a rain coat he made from his umbrella on Memorial Day in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Raul Colon makes his way to Amherst from work in Florence in a rain coat he made from his umbrella on Memorial Day in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 5/30/2017 9:28:07 PM

NORTHAMPTON — It’s not your imagination.

This month was rainier than usual. National Weather Service measurements taken in Amherst show that, as of today, May’s rainfall has totaled 6.3 inches — 2.2 inches above the average of 4.1 inches. Last year’s rainfall for the month was a mere 2.5 inches — 1.9 inches below the average. This is the ninth wettest May for the town since 1893, when record-keeping began.

Even with all the rain this month, the region’s precipitation levels — rain and snow combined — so far this year are below a normal year, according to the AccuWeather Inc. Through Tuesday, the region had received 17.53 inches of rain as measured at a weather station in Westfield, compared to 18.85 inches for a normal year to date.

The National Weather Service, however, is predicting more rain on the way.

Ray Young, owner of Hadley’s Next Barn Over Farm, said the rain has not had a negative impact on the farm’s crop yield and can actually be a boon during transplant season in the spring.

“It’s better to have more rain than less, especially when we’re going transplanting. Overcast and wet conditions are ideal for transplanting,” said Young. “The crops are looking really healthy and happy.”

David Blakeslee of the Westhampton Department of Public Works also welcomes the wet weather. “We’ve definitely had more rain, and that’s a good thing,” he said Tuesday.

The rainfall is needed to restore the local water table, he said. “It’s been low for the past couple years but it’s coming back to a normal range.”

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service was warning that thunderstorms might move through the region Wednesday afternoon and evening, bringing strong wind gusts and hail. Sun is to return on Thursday, but the forecast for Friday through early next week calls for the possibility of showers every day.

It could be worse. In 1984, the total rainfall for May in Amherst was nearly 12 inches.


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