plow2 INTELL

A farmer plows a field in Upper Leacock Township in this file photo.

It’s a good thing swimming pools around Lancaster County have just opened because the week ahead will be unseasonably warm and muggy.

And that’s not good news for area farmers, where a deficit in precipitation around the county is making it hard for newly planted crops to shoot upward.

Nor for the county’s firefighters, who continue to be called out to brush fires.

“Unofficially summer,” is what Eric Horst is calling the unusually hot spell.

The director of Millersville University’s Weather Information Center says May could well close out in the top 10 warmest on record.

High temperatures will be in the mid to upper 80s all week.

That’s about 5 to 10 degrees above normal for the last week of May. Average highs this week are 77 to 78 degrees.

And accompanying the unusual heat is high humidity.Warm and sticky, just like July.

As is often the case with summer weather patterns, there will be a chance of a pop-up shower or thunderstorm each day. The two likeliest days for some precipitation are Wednesday and Sunday, according to Horst.

He said there is a 60 percent chance of a shower or thunderstorm Wednesday afternoon or evening. Another good chance of precipitation may occur Sunday night as a cold front moves through. That should sweep out the heat and humidity for at least a day or two, Horst said.

Highs should reach the upper 80s today, mid 80s on Wednesday and Thursday, and the upper 80s again on Friday and Saturday.

The warmth is being driven by an early-season Bermuda High pattern that is sweeping into the eastern third of the United States warm air from the south.

In Millersville, there is a 3.5-inch precipitation deficit for the year. But Millersville also got two inches of rain a week ago when the eastern part of the county missed the heaviest showers.

That section of the county is more like 5.5 to 6 inches below normal.

“We have guys who are anxious for some rain,” reports Jeff Stoltzfus, a farmer and adult agriculture instructor for the Eastern Lancaster County School District.

“Some farmers’ crops are not up very even,” Stoltzfus says of farmers in the eastern part of the county.

“Herbicides that is used on corn needs a half-inch within seven to 10 days to be effective. There are some guys who have had their corn in the ground for three weeks with only a tenth or two-tenths of an inch of rain.

“Yeah, we’re not seeing drought concerns yet, but we’re on the edge.”

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