« More rain ... again | Main | Tonight's Minotaur launch weather improving »

May 7, 2009

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 ofUSGS 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.

And here is a rainfall map from NWS observers.

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.

NASA/WallopsFavorable 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

For the launch Webcast, go to 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!

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:44 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Forecasts


And don't forget the drought map! Or in this case, the lack-of-drought map.

First time I've seen "none" for the entire state in a long time...,NE

FR: Last time was Feb. 3, 2009

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

Sign up for FREE weather alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for weather text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Maryland Weather Center

Area Weather Stations
Resources and Sun coverage
• Weather news

• Readers' photos

• Data from the The Sun's weather station

• 2011 stargazers' calendar

• Become a backyard astronomer in five simple steps

• Baltimore Weather Archive
Daily airport weather data for Baltimore from 1948 to today

• National Weather Service:
Sterling Forecast Office

• Capital Weather Gang:
Washington Post weather blog

• CoCoRaHS:
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Local observations by volunteers

• Weather Bug:
Webcams across the state

• National Data Buoy Center:
Weather and ocean data from bay and ocean buoys

• U.S. Drought Monitor:
Weekly maps of drought conditions in the U.S.

• USGS Earthquake Hazards Program:
Real-time data on earthquakes

• Water data:
From the USGS, Maryland

• National Hurricane Center

• Air Now:
Government site for air quality information

• NWS Climate Prediction Center:
Long-term and seasonal forecasts

• U.S. Climate at a Glance:
NOAA interactive site for past climate data, national, state and city

• Clear Sky Clock:
Clear sky alerts for stargazers


• Hubblesite:
Home page for Hubble Space Telescope

• Heavens Above:
Everything for the backyard stargazer, tailored to your location

• NASA Eclipse Home Page:
Centuries of eclipse predictions

• Cruise Critic: Hurricane Zone:
Check to see how hurricanes may affect your cruise schedule

• Warming World:
NASA explains the science of climate change with articles, videos, “data visualizations,” and space-based imagery.

• What on Earth:
NASA blog on current research at the space agency.
Most Recent Comments
Blog updates
Recent updates to news blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected