From his farm in Readfield, Steven Christianson has noticed a meteorological oddity: When storms pass through his part of Kennebec County, they seem to split around his location, dropping more rain to the north or south of his location.

Even so, his part of the county — in fact, most of central and western Kennebec County — has received enough rain this summer to keep it from the drought conditions that exist in most of the rest of Maine.

“We’ve had intermittent showers here or there, but there’s not really any amount of anything to come from them,” Christianson said Sunday. “A lot of them have gone around us. It is dry, but not as dry as it was a month ago, certainly.”

Josephine Christianson, 1, samples an ear of sweet corn Sunday that she picked with her brother, Easten, 3, and parents Caroline and Steve at a plot the family cultivates in Readfied. Kennebec Journal/Andy Molloy

More rain is expected across the region this week as remnants of Tropical Storm Isaias are expected to pass over New England, beginning Tuesday night and continuing into Wednesday.

Meteorologist Eric Schwibs of the National Weather Service said Sunday the hotter- and drier-than-normal conditions that have prevailed over central Maine for the first half of the summer are expected to continue through much of August.

“Since Jan. 1, Augusta has had 20.58 inches of precipitation — 2.41 inches below normal,” Schwibs said from his office in Gray.

At the end of June, state forestry officials had banned open fires in the state due to the chronic dry conditions that started in the spring and continued into the early summer.

While the ban was eventually lifted, dry conditions have continued through July, and rivers across western and central Maine are flowing at historic low flows for this time of year.

Every week, the U.S. Drought Monitor updates the intensity and location of drought across the country. In its most recent update issued Thursday, most of Maine, from coastal York and Cumberland counties up to the Canadian border is in a moderate drought, with parts of northcentral and northeastern Aroostook County in a severe drought.

Waders and paddlers converge Sunday at the boat launch on Taylor Pond in Mount Vernon. Kennebec Journal/Andy Molloy

In a band that wraps around the western mountains that includes parts of Franklin, Somerset, Kennebec, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Oxford, Androscoggin and interior Cumberland and York counties abnormally dry conditions prevail.

By this point a year ago Schwibs said, 23.70 inches of precipitation had fallen, which was nearly three-quarters of an inch above normal rainfall, he said.

Schwibs said the normal rainfall is calculated by average results from 30 years, some of which are drier and some of which are wetter.

“In the cold season, you have more widespread rainfall and snowfall with larger (weather) systems,” he said. “In the summer months, it tends to be more showers and thunderstorms, which are hit or miss. That means one spot could be doing just fine and just a few miles down the road if you miss all the thunderstorms and showers, you could be in a dust bowl.”

From his vantage point in Readfield, Christianson said where last spring was wet, this spring was dry.

“In June, it was crispy to walk across your lawn,” he said. “You couldn’t walk across it barefoot. It was that crunchy.”

Caroline Christianson hauls a bag of sweet corn she picked Sunday with her husband, Steve, and children Josephine and Easten at a plot they cultivate in Readfield. Despite hot, dry conditions this summer, the couple report a bountiful crop they sell at their farm stand on Route 17 in Readfield. Kennebec Journal/Andy Molloy

Even though enough rain has fallen in July to green up his lawn again, he has been irrigating his crops on a rotating basis this summer, more so than in previous years.

The result, he said, has been good yield and good flavor for his produce, which he sells at the Christianson Farm Stand on Main Street.

Schwibs said it was not clear how much rain could fall over central Maine by midweek. That will depend on the path taken by what is left of Tropical Storm Isaias.

Most rain is expected to fall west of the track of the center of the storm. but it is premature to say where that will be, he said.

“Some areas could see as much as 3 or 4 inches of rain,” he said. “It will be tropical downpours, so it will come down.”

The downside is that with short, intense storms, he said, the rain tends to run off rather than soak in.

The outlook for coming weeks in both short- and long-term forecasts from the Climate Prediction Center indicates no widespread relief from the current hot, dry conditions.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.