The weather hasn’t been only hot — it’s been dry, too.
To date, according to Penn State meteorology data, it is the second driest year on record in 121 years. State College has had 15.91 inches of rain and is on pace for 27.72 inches, more than 11 inches less than the area’s average annual rainfall.
A few thunderstorms through Sunday could change that, but National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Head said there’s no guarantee of heavy rain.
“It will at least be off and on through the weekend and starting in the late afternoon (Thursday),” he said. “There may be a break Friday and then at least showers Saturday and Sunday. How much we get depends on whether we get under a real heavy thunderstorm or two.”
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Centre County is expected to get at least a quarter-inch of rain through the weekend.
“We’re dealing with the potential for thunderstorms, but it’s not like a winter event where you are more certain you’re in the pipeline for more rain or snow,” he said. “It’s impossible to say with the current conditions what areas could get a heavy thunderstorm and an extra inch or two of rain.”
At the very least, Head said, the light rain would pollinate the corn crop.
“It’s right at the point where it needs rain,” he said. “If we didn’t get it now, we’d have to get all of our kettle corn from somewhere else.”
The cause of the rain is a stalled front that is “wiggling” back in forth over the region. Head said the rain will continue, usually during afternoons, until a stronger front arrives next week.