Record rain

Several inches of water flooded the entrance to the Rye Motor Inn recently as rains from Tropical Storm Elsa hit the Seacoast.

Another weekend is here, and that can only mean one thing: More rain.

July 2021 is now officially the rainiest July on record in southern New Hampshire.

More rounds of rain this week brought Concord’s total rainfall for the month to 10.69 inches, which beat the old July record of 10.29 set in 1915.

The rainfall has been even more impressive in southwestern parts of the state, where over a foot of rain has fallen.

The dreary weather in recent weeks is certainly one for the history books when you consider that official record keeping in Concord began in 1868.

The number of rainy days this month is also nearing a record. Concord has seen rain 16 days so far this month; the record is 19 days in 2009.

While showers are expected to return to the area on Sunday after a sunny Saturday with temperatures in the low 80s, things are starting to look a little brighter.

Forecasters say early next week should be pretty dry and comfortable.

In fact, it could be the driest week of the entire month.

“By mid week maybe a few more showers and storms, but it’s not an all day washout type thing,” said Michael Clair, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

But don’t get your hopes up if you’re looking for some sizzling summer heat. A cooler air mass will remain in place next week with temperatures running slightly below normal, Clair said.

The dismal weather has made for a miserable month for summer vacationers, especially at Hampton Beach.

“We really feel bad for the visitors because they spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to bring their family to the beach for the week and you can only go to the arcade so many times. July up to this point has been a tough month for everybody, including those that rented cottages and motel rooms and day trippers. But the attitude of the businesses is, ‘OK, it rained today. Let’s just hope for sun in the morning,’” said John Nyhan, president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

The business community has tried to have a positive attitude and understands that it can’t control the weather, he said, adding that many of the beach businesses reported a good May and June, although Memorial Day weekend was cool and wet.

“I hope that this rain now goes away for a while so we can get back on track with nice weather like we’ve been having the last couple of days. This has been absolutely beautiful down here,” Nyhan said.

The wet weather has forced Wednesday’s fireworks at Hampton Beach to be postponed twice. A plan is in place to hold fireworks on Fridays in the event of rainy weather on Wednesdays, which is when the fireworks are traditionally held during the summer.

The rain has impacted a couple of bands, but for the most part nightly entertainment has carried on.

“It’s not necessarily rain, but when we add thunder and lightning it definitely becomes a safety issue,” Nyhan said.

The rain has also created challenges for other outdoor events that returned after being nixed last year due to the pandemic, including the American Independence Festival in Exeter.

The festival is being held over three Saturdays in July and the first two were rainy.

“We have had rain both Saturdays, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised that people have come out despite the rain and I think that goes to show how much we’re looking forward to having these summer events,” said Emma Stratton, executive director of the American Independence Museum.

Festival organizers are used to planning for extreme heat, but this summer they had to develop a contingency plan for rain and thunderstorms.

“When you plan a midsummer event you don’t think rain is going to be your weather issue,” Stratton said.