It’s summer, so where’s the sun?

If you’ve been thinking more about umbrellas lately than fireworks, it’s no wonder.
Betsy Bitner and her son, Duncan Brown, 3, pick strawberries at Bowman Orchards on Monday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Betsy Bitner and her son, Duncan Brown, 3, pick strawberries at Bowman Orchards on Monday.

If you’ve been thinking more about umbrellas lately than fireworks, it’s no wonder.

An unusually wet June and frequent thunderstorms have made lush fields and lawns but turned picnics and festivals into a lesson in watching the skies.

The month’s rainfall measured 5.45 inches, about 1.7 inches above normal, said Kevin Lipton, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. That bumps the yearly total to 21.56 inches, 2.63 inches above normal.

“A lot of that can be attributed to the wet February and March that occurred around here,” Lipton said.

The wet June weather rotted some area strawberries but also made up for a dry May by increasing the berry yield, farmers said.

“I’m sure there was a little more rot than we normally have,” said Kevin Bowman, partner in Bowman Orchards of Clifton Park. “The strawberries really needed it when they got it,” he added.

The red and golden raspberries and blackberries at Bowman will be better off when they come in

season at the end of this month if the rainy trend doesn’t continue. “They’re just starting, so we’d kind of like the rain to stop,” he said.

Lipton said a beautiful day today could lead to a storm again on Thursday.

The wet weather made planting vine crops and corn difficult for Buhrmaster Farms of Glenville, said owner Keith Buhrmaster. He expects to keep planting until July 20.

“The last five years, three of them have been wet. I don’t know what normal is anymore,” he said.

Even though it seemed wet here in June, the Capital Region’s storms were nothing compared to the Mississippi River floods that devastated parts of the Midwest last month.

“I think the frequency of the rain might have been what makes us perceive it as being so wet,” Lipton said, noting that the past few weeks have brought at least one thunderstorm or shower a day.

A stronger-than-usual jet stream in June caused the frequent storms, Lipton said. “Usually by the month of June, the jet stream lifts to the north and kind of weakens a little bit,” he added.

Although above normal, the month wasn’t a record-breaker. It was nowhere near the Capital Region’s rainiest June on record in 2006, when the swollen Mohawk River wreaked havoc on nearby communities.

That year brought 8.74 inches in June, Lipton said.

This year’s rain hasn’t been enough to drive away tourists from Saratoga Springs, said David Zunker, president of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau.

“If you went to the [Freihofer] Jazz Festival on Saturday, you saw that numbers were pretty good but could have been better,” he said.

Many of the things people do for fun are indoors, Zunker said.

And Zunker doubts that any tourists from the drought-plagued South mind the rain.

“This just makes the place look greener, even more lush and gorgeous,” he said. “When you come from a place that’s relatively brown, it’s striking.”

Bowman expects the June rains to increase his apple harvest.

“The apples are liking it. We have a huge crop,” he said.

Some apple trees were damaged by localized hail storms, Buhrmaster pointed out.

“There were some scattered spots around different places that got some hail,” he said, but his orchards weren’t affected.

This June also was about 4 degrees warmer than normal, Lipton said.

“A lot of that can be attributed to that heat wave we had between the seventh and the 10th, when we were in the lower- to mid-90s,” he said.

High temperatures are expected to hover around the mid-80s today and Thursday, slightly above normal.

Categories: Schenectady County

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