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Rainfall (and our grass) near record highs

Union Leader Correspondent

August 15. 2018 10:10PM
Tori Parkhurst of Cheapskate Landscape and Property Maintenance in Brentwood mows the field behind Ellis School in Fremont Wednesday afternoon. (Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent)

The monsoon-like summer weather has kept landscapers like Jim Funicella buzzing.

Damp grass in the morning usually isn’t a problem for landscapers because it dries out quickly on a typical summer day, but this August is anything but typical.

“The problem we’re having is it’s been rainy more during the day. It’s like Florida, where you get the rain later in the day, and that’s when it hurts us. We could be in the middle of cutting the lawn and then it starts pouring,” said Funicella, owner of Funi’s Lawn Care and Landscaping in Exeter.

This August will likely be one for the record books.

According to the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, Concord has picked up 8.78 inches of rain so far this month, making it the second-wettest August on record.

With half the month still to go, forecasters say it’s likely that at least another quarter-inch of rain will fall to beat the 9 inches that fell in 1892, which is the current record for the rainiest August here.

“Looking into the weekend and early next week, it looks like we’re still going to be stuck in this tropical pattern, which is contributing to all the rain we’ve gotten this month,” said Taylor Patterson, a meteorologist with the Gray office.

Showers and thunderstorms with torrential rain have become the norm in recent weeks as a warm and humid air mass continues its grip on New England.

While early summer started off dry with drought conditions in some areas, the recent deluge has washed away fears of another summer like the one in 2016 that resulted in New Hampshire’s worst drought since the 1960s.

The showery pattern has made the weather a bit unpredictable as storms fire up in some areas while others are dry. That’s created some challenges for the tourism industry at the beach, according to John Nyhan, president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We get phone calls in our chamber office daily saying, ‘The weatherman in Boston said it’s overcast and raining. Is it?’ In some cases it’s sunny outside. What we are challenged with is sometimes the weather report put out could be (for an area) more west of Hampton Beach,” Nyhan said.

Still, New Hampshire’s beaches have seen plenty of rain this summer. Nyhan said some of the Wednesday night fireworks at Hampton Beach have been moved to Fridays because of rain.

But despite the dreary weather, entertainment on the Seashell Stage and at local restaurants has continued, along with other summer activities.

“For the most part I think the business community down at Hampton Beach is working around the bad weather,” Nyhan said.

After off-and-on showers for several days and torrential rains on Tuesday, crews from Cheapskate Landscape and Property Maintenance in Brentwood were busy Wednesday trying to catch up on mowing before more storm clouds rolled in.

Crew leader Tori Parkhurst mowed the field behind Ellis School in Fremont, but had to take a break when the mower became clogged by the thick grass.

“Everything is sky high,” Parkhurst said. The field is normally mowed about every 15 days, but now it’s being done every 10 days.

Funicella said the crabgrass is also growing like wildfire because of the rain and hot weather.

Crews from Clipper Landscaping in Portsmouth have also been in a race against the rain. “It’s more like spring. There’s not much brown. Everything is green,” owner Kent Collins said.

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