When we were kids, by the end of the week, my mom's refrigerator was crowded with leftovers, and her imagination and enthusiasm for cooking were depleted. So, she would hum up some noodles, spoon them, and all the leftovers, into a casserole dish and stuff it in the oven. She'd set the timer to start the concoction cooking at 5 p.m. or so, then head for the golf course, or a bridge table somewhere.
What came out of the oven at dinnertime was a Gazinta, she said. "Whatever we had in the icebox gazinta the pot," she said. And that's what we had for dinner. They were odd lots, to be sure. But tasty. And familiar.
So today we're serving up Gazinta. First, the forecast:
Today, Friday, promises to be one of the nicest days of the month. Dew points have sunk into the 50s at BWI-Marshall, giving us a delightfully dry and pleasant summer day, with a forecast high in the seasonable mid-80s. Overnight lows tonight should drop into the 60s, so open those windows and get the heat out of the house. Let the sounds of cicadas and crickets in, and enjoy.
Forecasters out at Sterling noted in their morning discussion that this will be only the 10th day this month that hasn't reached 90 degrees at BWI-Marshall Airport. That's the fewest below 90 days at BWI in July since 1999. The record is 9, set in 1988 and matched in 1999.
As this very nice high-pressure system over the northeast today moves off the coast on Saturday, humidity levels will rise and the chances for showers and thunderstorms will climb by evening. Sunday shows an even better chance for storms. Some could be severe, with hail and damaging winds. But we should stay relatively cool, with a high in the low 80s on Sunday.
Next into the Gazinta pot: The tropics.
Nothing to worry about yet. But the National Hurricane Center is watching two areas. There are some showers and thunderstorms in the eastern Caribbean, but they show few signs of getting organized.
Of more interest is a tropical wave that's just come off West Africa (satellite image). It is stirring up a large area of showers and storms, and there's is some chance it could become an issue. But for the next 48 hours, at least, the chances this will become a tropical cyclone are put at just 20 percent.
As we move into August, the waters off West Africa become more active in generating "Cape Verde" storms, the kind of hurricanes that can cross the Atlantic, grow and threaten the East Coast.
Next into the pot: Crops
The USDA's Weather & Crops report for this week is out, and it shows a small, but continuing increase in the percentage of Maryland's corn and soybean crops that are rated in poor to very poor condition due to heat and dry weather. Fifty-four percent of the corn crop is in that category, up from 51 percent last week. Soybeans in poor to very poor shape increased from 46 to 49 percent.
Peaches, which have fared well this summer, also show a decline. The percentage of the peach crop rates good to excellent slipped this week from 83 percent to 74 percent. Apples remain in pretty good shape, with 88 percent of the crop rated good to excellent, unchanged from last week.
And a sprinkle of soil moisture:
Baltimore/Washington, Frederick and Frostburg are still showing small precipitation surpluses for the year. Showers have helped, but deficits still exceed five inches in places like Hagerstown, Mechanicsville and Salisbury, and top two inches at Ocean City, Patuxent River and Sharpsburg.
For the week ending July 25, 42 percent of the state's topsoil is rated "very short" of moisture, up from 38 percent the previous week. The subsoil was drying up, too, with 27 percent rated "very short" of water, up from 17 percent the week before.
Thus fortified, you are dispatched to have a great weekend!
(PHOTOS: top: leftoverlovers.com/ Bottom: Sun Photo, Lloyd Fox, 2007)