Mysterious yellow orb in sky
What was that thing, anyway? We've seen precious little sunshine this month. The daily tally of rain down at BWI this month has come to more than 4 inches now, with 1.21 inches recorded on Wednesday alone. That's more than the norm for the entire month of May.
It has rained at BWI every day this month so far, as if anyone needed reminding. And chances for more showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast each day through Saturday. That would add up to 9 days of rain. Only 31 more days and nights to go before we launch the ark. Be careful what you wish for.
Anyway, here is the tally so far:
May 1: 0.02 inch
May 2: 0.01 inch
May 3: 0.82 inch
May 4: 0.84 inch
May 5: 0.42 inch
May 6: 1.21 inches
May 7 (by my count from BWI through 3 p.m.): 0.83 inch
Grand total to date: 4.15 inches
Normal for a full May: 3.89 inches
Wednesday's rainfall included some very heavy downpours and thunderstorms in some parts of the state, especially in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties - more than 1.5 inches. Here are some 24-hour rain totals from across the region.
Obviously, the heavy rains have filled the region's creeks and streams. The map at right shows streamflow volumes for 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The dark blue dots denote streams at 90 percent of their record flows for this date. The black dots denote streams now at record volumes for the date.
Here's the national map, showing the swath from Mississippi to New England, in blue, that has seen the most persistent rainfall in the past week or so.
For those interested in this evening's scheduled launch of a Minotaur 1 rocket from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore, meteorologists down there project a 60 percent chance of favorable conditions for launch this evening. Liftoff would come sometime between 8 and 11 p.m. Here's how the cloud cover looked from space this afternoon.
Favorable weather at Wallops does not necessarily translate into a clear view from the Baltimore area. But if we get lucky, this rocket could put on quite a show as it roars into the sky and off toward the east with its payload of five satellites bound for orbit. Hayden Planetarium astronomer and blogger Joe Rao says the launch could be visible from northern Florida to southern Maine, and as far west as Kentucky.
Baltimore-area residents should look toward the southeast as launch time approaches. You can check the status of the countdown on the Wallops Information phone line: 757 824-2050.
You can also get status Tweets from http://twitter.com/NASA_Wallops
For the launch Webcast, go to http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/webcast I just checked the webcast, and it is now up and running. Pretty boring, but working fine.
If we get lucky, and you spot the rocket, please come back here and leave us a comment. Let us know where you were and how it looked. Thanks!