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Weather sets records, forces farmers to take rain check

After a week of sunny, Oval Beach-friendly weather, gray skies and rain showers have returned with record low temperatures, affecting students, professionals and farmers across Ohio.

Despite being more than halfway through May, low temperatures for this week have been in the 40s.

Jay Hobgood, an associate professor of geography and adviser of OSU’s Meteorology Club, said Columbus set a record for the lowest high temperatures on Monday and Tuesday.

According to weather.com, the coolest temperature this week was 44 degrees on Monday. The average low temperature for this time of the year is 51 degrees.

“I can’t really do anything exciting and fun,” said Mariama Koroma, a first-year in health sciences. “I want fall to come back … because it was really nice.”

Jeffrey Sites, a senior forecaster for the National Weather Service, said the amount of rainfall in April was more of a problem for farmers than this week’s low temperatures.

“We haven’t had to worry about any frosts or freezes,” Sites said.

Hobgood said the rainy weather could have negative effects on Ohio’s agriculture.

“This has been a really bad spring for the farmers,” Hobgood said.

Farmers are behind in planting their crops for the season because of the lack of direct sunlight being replaced with constant rain, Hobgood said.

Kent Harrison, a professor of horticulture and crop science, said the cold, rainy weather has delayed field experiments and crop planting.

“That’s really put us behind,” Harrison said. “It’s critical … to get seeds planted as early as possible.”

Harrison said the weather is delaying experiments that OSU and federal grants sponsored. He said he is hopeful the dry weather promised for next week will allow him to begin his experiments.

“It will save a year’s worth of research,” Harrison said.

Hobgood attributed the unusually cool temperatures to a low-pressure system that has been sitting over the Ohio River Valley since Friday.

Sites said this type of large, low-pressure system can commonly occur in the eastern U.S. in the winter. The low-pressure system is pulling in cold air from Canada.

“That’s what’s producing this cold, rainy weather,” Hobgood said.

According to weather.com, the average high temperature for this week is about 74 degrees, about 15 degrees warmer than Wednesday’s high temperature of 59 degrees.

The week of May 1 through May 7 had lows in the 40s and mid-30s. This week, high temperatures have ranged from 49 degrees to the mid-60s.

During the week of May 8 through May 14, the warmer temperatures as high as 86 degrees brought out sunbathers and hundreds of students to the Oval.

For now, the return of lower temperatures has some students feeling cheated out of the sunshine traditionally anticipated with Spring Quarter.

Mariel Penkowski, a first-year in mechanical engineering, also said the cold weather was preventing her from spending time outside with her friends.

“We spend way too much time inside,” Penkowski said.

Hobgood said the weather may encourage more students to focus on their studies.

“It doesn’t encourage people to go out,” Hobgood said. “So maybe there’s more motivation to study.”

 

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