The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 23, 2012

Weather forces growers to shift plans quickly

SUNBURY — The unusually mild winter and early spring weather, followed by this week’s unseasonably cold temperatures, rain and snow, is forcing farmers and gardeners to shift their thinking while working feverishly to prepare for an unpredictable planting season.

Since last month and through this past weekend, the Valley had 1.31 inches of rain, said State College-based meteorologist Mike Pigott, of AccuWeather. “The last two days, we’ve had the same amount. We still need the rain. Normal rainfall in April is 3.66 inches. This year, there has been 2.01 inches in the Valley.”

Over the last few days, the Valley also has averaged 15 to 20 degrees below normal. And add snow to that: The most snow in the region this season was in October and now in April in the higher elevations.

“And that’s highly unusual,” Pigott said.

Pigott said the reason for all this uncertainty is the shifting pattern of the jet stream. The Valley is experiencing weather more appropriate to January than April. Expect temperatures today to range from near freezing in the morning to the low 50s during the day, with intermittent showers and snow in the hills.

“But the good news is that by the end of the week, temperatures should moderate,” Pigott said.

For the complete story, see Tuesday's edition of The Daily Item.

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