The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 4, 2008

Stormy weather stalls over Carlisle

Carlisle’s summer, which started with record highs during a heat wave, continues to be active, weather-wise. Thunderstorms have broken out almost every afternoon for over two weeks. Almost like clockwork, the clouds build during the day and let loose either in isolated bursts of wind and rain or as prolonged downpours.

Afternoon storms are a typical summer weather pattern but seldom have they occurred for so long. According to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), a strong and persistent low pressure system has been hovering over the Great Lakes region for more than two weeks. The low pulls warm, humid air from the south, which circles around New England and rises up to the colder air above. The clash of the two air masses has provided us with more than our usual share of lightning and flooding rains. If the warm, moist air rises too quickly, it can freeze into pellets, and fall as hail.

Damage reports have been few, however, according to Carlisle Police Officer Leo Crowe, who was directing traffic on Old Home Day. He noted some tree damage occurred at the Police Station on Lowell Street around June 24, and many rain-soaked tree branches have been knocked down by the strong gusts of wind. He observed that one aftermath of a storm that can be counted on is the malfunctioning of house alarms.“Happens after almost every storm,” he said.

The Carlisle School lost power twice in the last two weeks, said Carlisle School Buildings and Grounds Supervisor David Flannery. “We lost it for a while on Wednesday night but for a longer period on Thursday night. We were not able to restore power to the buildings until after 10 p.m.” He believes the disruption was caused by crews removing a tree from live wires on Baldwin Road. “When we have a low-voltage situation, we shut all the power down at the school. Fortunately we have not discovered any damage on campus.” He added, though, that, “The lightning is another concern.”

Leaks were another problem the school encountered. The Old Home Day musical performances on Sunday, June 29, were moved indoors due to predicted storms. The performances were held in the Corey Auditorium, where buckets had to be used on stage to catch rain blowing in through the roof.

Hardest to predict are the isolated storms. The Billerica side of Carlisle received almost no rain on June 26, while the Concord side, especially on River Road, experienced driving rain and nickel-sized hail. Hutchins Farm, which is just over the border where River Road turns into Monument Street, suffered crop damage from the hail, which fell thick enough to walk through and leave footprints. Flannery, who is also the Carlisle Fire Chief, said there were no emergency calls from lightning strikes during the week.

The NOAA predicts the pattern should change by the beginning of July, as the low moves off the coast. Temperatures are predicted to be above normal for July and August. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito