Almanack Weather Prognosticator Chad Merrill
September: An Extension of the Summer Season
Saturday, August 28, 2021
Greetings Western Maryland and the Potomac Highlands! The past three months either flew by for summer weather enthusiasts or was long and drawn out for winter lovers.
I have good news to share if you want to squeeze in that last minute outdoor barbecue or visit to the local lake, but unfortunate news if you want Mother Nature to turn the switch to autumn temperatures. We’ll also closely examine a few specialized forecasts for popular outdoor events in the region.
As you probably are aware if you are a native of the region, September has become an extension of the summer season. Rain can be difficult to come by unless we are greeted with a tropical system.
Allegany County’s average high in September is 77.5 degrees and the average low is 53 degrees. For Garrett County, the average high is 72 degrees and nighttime low is 50 degrees. Climate data shows a distinct warming trend in temperatures for the Potomac Highlands and Western Maryland since 2011. Will that hold true for 2021?
Rainfall forecasts for September are tricky because unless tropical moisture from an East Coast or Gulf Coast system works into the Potomac Highlands and Western Maryland, the month is usually dry. Cold fronts, which help drive showers, are usually absent until late in the month. Only four to seven of the past 30 years have seen near average rainfall, which is 3.73 inches for Allegany County and 3.88 inches in Garrett County. The years with above average rainfall were attributed to tropical systems that brought a surplus of 2 or more inches. So, it’s feast or famine in September for rainfall in Western Maryland and the Potomac Highlands. What will this September bring? With that in mind, let’s shed light on the Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack’s September forecast for the region.
We see an active month for tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin with likely at least two landfalling systems (tropical storm or hurricane). However, the overall pattern at the time of landfall will likely not allow any of the moisture to trickle as far west as Western Maryland and the Potomac Highlands. The rain that occurs will come from the occasional cold front that tries to push its way to the East Coast. The best chance for rain is the first couple of days in the month, within a few days of mid-September and a week to 10 days before September closes out.
What does this mean for a few favorite local events? The Big Savage Half Marathon on Sept. 4 will be warm and turning slightly muggy, but no rain is expected. Continuing the Labor Day weekend festivities, the Western Maryland Craft Beverage Festival on Sept. 5 will also feature dry and warm weather. The event that will likely attract the most people in September is Heritage Days Festival during the weekend of Sept. 11-12.
Unfortunately, we believe there will be a round of showers and possible storms, mainly during the mid-to-late afternoon both days. So, it won’t be a complete washout, but have the umbrella ready! Finally, the Dragon Boat Racing festival on Sept. 25 at Rocky Gap State Park will be rain-free with very warm conditions. We see a stretch of dry and unseasonably hot weather to close September.
The warmest weather will occur between Sept. 4-10 and 22-30. If you are yearning for that taste of autumn weather in September, mark on your calendar Sept. 14-15. Two days of refreshingly cool temperatures will greet the region before mild weather returns. Those maintaining gardens and local produce likely have an elevated water bill from the dry late June into mid-August weather pattern. Unfortunately, September will also be drier than average given the lack of tropical activity expected this far west into the Appalachians. However, this also means high school football fans won’t have to sit in the rain on many occasions to watch their favorite players compete.
The 2022 Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack can be found at Main Street Books in Frostburg, Oak Barrel Café in Little Orleans, Gregg’s Pharmacy in Oakland and Ollies Bargain Outlet in LaVale.
Almanack Weather Prognosticator
Chad Merrill is a Cumberland native and meteorologist who serves as the Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack weather prognosticator and senior meteorologist at Earth Networks in Germantown. Merrill previously was a meteorologist with WDVM (formerly known as NBC25) in Hagerstown and WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-285-8476.