Unexpected Consequences of a Rainy Spring

ByNed Potter

N E W   Y O R K , June 15, 2003 -- It's been raining again, and Dr. Clifford Bassett knows what that means.

Bassett, a New York allergist, says this spring has been so wet that everything is blooming. "This is one of the worst allergy seasons we've had in perhaps 50 years," he said.

In parts of the East and South, it's been the wettest spring on record.

"It's quite often that in May we get into one of these periods, but really this one has gone from mid-April now through mid-June, so it's longer than the typical three-week duration," said Greg Forbes, a severe weather expert at The Weather Channel.

The Work of Air Streams

In a more typical spring, high pressure over the Midwest often makes storms miss the Eastern states.

This year, the high has been over California. It's kept the Rockies dry, but allowed those storm tracks to converge in the East.

"When those two masses get together you get heavy rain and long periods of rain, clouds, and relatively cool weather because the clouds are keeping the sunshine out," Forbes said.

The weather has been the worst in the Carolinas. By this time last year, Charlotte, N.C., had 16 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service. This year, it has more than twice as much — 36 inches.

Ominous Statements

By contrast, Texas has had the second-driest spring in a century. In Idaho and Utah, a drought is great weather for the Mormon cricket, a wingless pest, which is having its biggest year in six decades.

"This is a disaster," said Fawn Carey, the disaster coordinator for Boise County, Utah. "It's destroying our private crops."

Weather patterns have a way of staying in place. The Western drought is four years old, and out of 23 weekends this year in the East, only five have been sunny.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events