Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Update: Pittsburgh, Vermont, Southern California.

I haven't been back to Panther Hollow in Pittsburgh since winter, but the habitat restoration work in Schenley Park and the Junction Hollow Watershed are really taking off.  Yesterday the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy blog had a post by Krissy Hopkins, who is doing research on restoration in Panther Hollow.  The post really brought me back to last year when I spent many hot, muggy days exploring the hollow and the larger Junction Hollow watershed that Panther Hollow is a part of.  I wonder how much has changed in the last six months, and how the rain gardens I helped install in East Liberty are doing.

Meanwhile, in Vermont, the weather has done a 180 degree turn from what it was doing this spring.  (No, it has not reached 180 degrees, though it felt like it for one week.)  Instead of flooding, the weather has actually been rather dry.  As that article points out, the summer rain has been very spotty and localized this year (as it often is).  As it happens, the Middlebury area has been wetter than most areas, as we've been 'lucky' with the thunderstorms and rain.  In fact, yesterday's rain seemed to target southern Addison County specifically!  Nevertheless, it has been dry as a whole, and the rivers are low.  Nothing like what they are seeing in Texas, and I suspect by the time fall comes around it will be wet again.  Still, it is interesting how quickly conditions can change.

The forecast in Vermont is much the same for the next week:  warm and mostly dry, but with a few scattered thunderstorms each afternoon.

Above: a storm approaches the Middlebury Airport.  The Middlebury area has been wetter than much of Vermont lately, probably just due to chance.

Southern California is expecting an easterly wave from the Southwest Monsoon today.  As is often the case, thunderstorms are likely in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains.  With this wave, however, there is also a chance that some of these thunderstorms will move out of the mountains towards the coast, bringing some rain and lightning to areas like Los Angeles or Ventura.  Summer thunderstorms in these areas are quite rare - some years one or two storms make it to the coast in late July or August, but in many years there is no summer rain at all.  If it does rain, enjoy the brief break from the dry season.

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