WASHINGTON – Lifeguards, power company engineers and beach employees found themselves looking for busy work this summer, thanks to what meteorologists are calling an unseasonably cool and wet season.
“If it’s not warm outside, people tend to think about doing other things,” said Sasse, program director for Montgomery County Aquatics.
Her 10 pools sold fewer admission passes this summer than previous summers, because there were fewer 90-degree days, meaning people were not as desperate for a dip in the pool as they have been in the past.
Baltimore only recorded eight 90-degree days in the summer season that ended Tuesday, compared to 21 in a typical summer, said Anne Waple of the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Waple said the state as a whole was rainier and cooler this season, with temperatures 0.7 degrees below the summer average of 73 degrees and rainfall totaling 15.8 inches compared to 12.5 inches in a typical summer.
Maryland’s summer reflected the nation’s average, which was the 16th-coolest and 10-wettest since 1895, according to NOAA.
Ocean City felt the wet and the chill, said Donna Abbott, media services manager for the city. The city records its population every weekend, and found that 1.2 million flocked to the beach in August this year, compared to 1.46 million in 2003.
Abbott said the cooler weather may have contributed to the drop. Usually toward the end of summer, when the weather is hot and muggy, tourists flock to the coast to cool off, but the tropical storms could have prevented that push. Hurricane Charley hit during the middle of August, which is usually a high traffic time for the city.
“That pretty much washed us out for a key weekend,” Abbott said.
Pepco had a lazy few months, with no brownouts during the entire summer.
“It was good for us. Not so interesting, though,” said Mary-Beth Hutchinson, a spokeswoman for the Washington-area electric company.
While it was hot many days, the area never experienced a sustained period of 90 to 100 degree days, she said, the times when people turn up their air conditioners, which can overload the system. Usually a common occurrence in the Washington area, it did not happen at all this year, Hutchinson said.
For area farmers, “it’s been a wonderful summer,” said Earl Hance, the president of the Maryland Farm Bureau.
Hance, who grows corn and soybeans in Calvert County, said the unseasonably cool weather should lead to an earlier harvest than previous years.
The summer brought a lot of rain, but few cloudy days, he said, which is perfect for plants. In addition, Calvert County felt little of any of the hurricanes, and his farm had no significant damage from the heavy wind and rain.
“We had rain when we needed it . . . and (the plants) respond,” Hance said.
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