- Last Updated on 07:42 AM 06/30/10
- BY Sonny Riddle
To say the last two weeks have been hot and uncomfortable would be an understatement.
According to data compiled by the National Weather Service (NWS), the thermometer high has not dipped below the 90-degree mark since June 18. In fact, as of Tuesday the maximum daily temperature has topped 90 degrees a total of 19 days in June.
“The heat, drought and dry winds have been devastating to forage,” said Bruce Pearce, district manager of the Soil and Water Conservation District. “Most of the grasses in Halifax County are cool season grasses, like fescue and orchard grass.”
Linda Wallace, Halifax County agriculture marketing director, agreed with Pearce. “Grasses are hurting in the county,” she said. “We need rain.”
The average daily high temperature for the entire month has averaged 90.9 degrees, according to data released by the NWS. The highest daily temperature recorded by the NWS for the month was 98 degrees recorded this past Sunday, although many individual thermometers around the county topped the century mark. Monday was not a lot better, according to the NWS, with the official high temperature for the day at 97.
“The wind has done as much damage as the heat,” Pearce said. “What we’ve had over the past couple of weeks is what your grandmother would have called ‘quilt drying days.’”
The lack of measurable rainfall over the past two weeks has added to the misery of the soaring temperatures. Only traces of precipitation have been recorded by the NWS over three 24-hour periods the past two weeks, June 23, 24 and 26. Monday’s thunderstorm brought only a quarter to a half inch of rain in different parts of Halifax County.
Total rainfall for the month stands at 2.20 inches, down 1.04 inch from the normal amount of precipitation for June. The wettest period over the month was June 12 and 13 with 0.86 and 0.43 inches of rain respectively.
“Hayfields have really taken a hit,” Pearce said. “If it stays like it has been, cattle producers will have to begin feeding hay to their cattle.”
Wallace agreed, saying, “Pastures throughout the county are hurting, rain has been very spotty this month.”
But Pearce warns about the timing of a good soaking rainfall. “If we get rain before the cooler weather, it will be damaging,” he said.
The NWS is predicting cooler, less humid weather beginning today and continuing Thursday and Friday. The higher temperatures return Saturday just in time for Independence Day cookouts and other activities on Sunday.
Pearce said the county’s tobacco crop could survive the present drought. “If we get rain in July, tobacco will do all right,” he said. “Tobacco is a weed, and it has the ability to come out of the drought. All we can do is pray for rain.”