CONWAY — It’s been a rainy July in New Hampshire, with local weather observer Ed Bergeron reporting Monday that his West Side Road home weather station had received 6.39 inches of precipitation for July compared with the 30-year normal total of 2.66 inches for the month.
“We’re way above normal,” said Bergeron, who shares his daily weather reports on the “Morning Weather Show” on WMWV 93.5-FM.
Asked why it has been such a wet month, Bergeron said, “I have no good answer for why we have had so much rain. It has been hot and dry in the Northwest (with the raging forest fires in Oregon), and we tend to be almost the polar opposite of what happens in the western part of the country.
"There is a low in western Canada which is moving stuff easterly to us along the East Coast,” he added.
He said total precipitation for the year to date is 36.38 inches, putting his station “a little bit ahead of average.”
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, posted on its Facebook page Monday night: “Does it feel like it's been raining a lot more lately? Well, it has! After months of dry weather, Portland and Concord are both creeping up the top 10 list of wettest Julys on record, and we're barely halfway through the month. Concord stands a very good chance of setting a new record for the wettest July. It's also been cooler than normal, with both locations on track to be the coolest July in more than a decade (since 2009).
As of Monday night, the Weather Service reported Concord had received 10.23 inches of rain, the second wettest July record, while the record, set in 1915, is 10.29 inches, and is almost certain to be broken.
Rainfall from Saturday through Monday in the Granite State, according to the Weather Service, reached 7.6 inches in East Swanzey, while North Conway got 1.13 inches, and Fryeburg, Maine, .82 inches.
There was minor flooding in Bennington, where the Contoocook River breached its banks. In Peterborough, water washed away a stretch of Old Town Farm road, and there was also a flood warning for the Ashuelot River in Cheshire County.
This month’s rain follows a dry May and June.
Brian Fitzgerald, education and outreach director for the non-profit Mount Washington Observatory, last month reported that June’s total precipitation for North Conway at the Obs’ U.S. Weather Service’s North Conway station on Pine Street was 0.64 inches, nearly 4 inches below normal. And in May, a total of just 1.56 inches was recorded, 2.12 inches below normal.
He said all but three of July's days so far have had some measured precipitation.
Sam Robinson, Obs summit weather observer and engineer, offered an explanation about the region’s recent heavy precipitation.
“The United States has been locked in a pattern with high pressure to our west and east, leading to troughing in the Northeast. The jet stream has bumped north over the western United States while bumping south in the eastern United States, which has helped aid in funneling moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to our region. Relatively weak pressure gradients have also allowed for light winds, which results in slower-moving storms, increasing the rainfall amounts per storm.”
Andy Pohl, a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said Concord set a daily rainfall record Sunday when it received 1.84 inches of rain, breaking the former record of 1.45 inches set in 1949.
Comparing this July to last year’s July, Pohl said, “As of this day last year, Concord had received 16.52 inches of precipitation for the year to date, so we are 5.02 inches ahead of last time — so it has been a very, very wet July.”
Asked how that impacts the drought that has been in effect, Pohl said, “Obviously, it improves conditions dramatically.”
WMUR TV-9 reported on July 15 that after July’s rains, “drought conditions have improved for much of New Hampshire,” with the state’s map of drought conditions showing Carroll County as of the last update on July 15 to be "moderately dry" and Coos County to have “moderate drought.”
The map is updated every Thursday. For further information, go to droughtmonitor.unl.edu/currentmap/statesdroughtmonitor.
Meanwhile, the rain has been good for business at retail stores in the valley.
"Stores are outperforming 2019 sales this summer, a trend we have really seen throughout the year, not just in July," said marketing and events director Laura Lemieux of Settlers Green.
Passengers have also been visiting such White Mountains Attractions as the Conway Scenic Railroad.
“We’ve been doing really well. The weather is good for us — people flock to the railroad on cloudy and rainy days so we don’t mind a little rain at the Conway Scenic as we run rain or shine,” said Brian Solomon, marketing and events coordinator for the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Reporter Lloyd Jones contributed to this story.