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Despite showers, rainfall deficit persists

Just over 2 inches of rain fell through last week and into Sunday, but it wasn’t nearly enough to erase a lingering rainfall deficit for the Fredericksburg area this year.

Between Oct. 7 and Sunday night, 2.54 inches fell, according to the University of Mary Washington weather station, with more than half an inch falling on three of those days.

There could have been more: rainfall amounts upwards of four inches fell in spots to the north and east, the National Weather Service reported.

The showers, some heavy enough to turn the Rappahannock River into a swirling brown torrent, were from two converging weather systems, forecasters said—the remnants of Tropical Storm Karen, and a cold front sweeping in from the West.

Tropical systems are the most reliable rainmakers here in the late summer and early fall. Hurricane Sandy, for example, which hit the East Coast last October, caused extensive damage in the Northeast and dumped about 6 inches of rain here.

The largest single-day rainfall, according to Free Lance–Star records, was Oct. 16, 1942, when 6.17 inches were recorded.

This year, however, the area lags more than 3 inches behind what it normally receives by mid-October.

As of Monday, 30.03 inches of rain had fallen. The normal amount is 33.68 inches. For the month, Fredericksburg has gotten 2.53 inches.

Prior to last week’s gray skies and unrelenting showers, there were 15 straight dry, sunny days, some of them in the unseasonably warm 90s.

September was also dry, with the area receiving a paltry 1.3 inches, compared to the normal 3.33 inches for the month.

Except for a chance of rain Thursday night, the forecast is for sunny, dry weather through early next week.

Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431