The citywide total, based on analyses of a variety of measuring stations, was 5.8 inches for that week, according to the government’s Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center in State College, bringing the Jan. 1-July 12 total to 23.4 inches.
And Philadelphia didn’t even get the worst of it: Jenkintown reported close to 10 inches for the July 6 thunderstorms and Fay, on Friday. (Not that such a quantity of moisture ever would be available in January, but that would be the water equivalent of about 120 inches of snow, depending on the temperature.)
Gloucester County’s seven-day total also was 5.8 inches, according to the river center numbers, which were posted Monday.
The rains came just as dryness was spreading across the region and the clover was taking over the lawns; clover being more weather-toughened than the suburban ideal of the grass blade, said Andrew Frankenfield with the Penn State Extension in Montgomery County.
“We were starting to dry out there for a bit,” said Dean Iovino, a lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.
Then on Monday “ring of fire” thunderstorms blew up and radiated outward in an annular pattern from near Philadelphia, clocking parts of the region and setting off dozens of water rescues.
Affirming that the universe is random but not quite as random as summer precipitation, while close to 4 inches was measured in Fox Chase, a mere 0.24 inches fell at the official climate station at Philadelphia International Airport.
The airport rallied with better than 4 inches on Friday, a record for the date, as Fay generated downpours from the Jersey beaches to Philadelphia’s northern and western suburbs. Heavy rains had been expected near the Shore, but the coverage was more pervasive than expected, with 4- and 5-inch-plus totals common well inland.
“When you’ve got tropical moisture in the equation, all bets are off,” said Dave Dombek, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc.
The rains evidently have had a benign aftereffect in shaving a few degrees off the daily highs. Moisture forces the sun to divert some of its heating energy. Monday’s highs were in the bearable mid- and upper-80s and are forecast to stay just a shade below 90 through the workweek.
Forecasters say a heat wave could ripen around here the beginning of next week, but those threats have popped in the extended outlooks only to evaporate.
“It’s not too bad for July,” said Iovino. “I’ve felt it a lot worse.”