By the Numbers

Anyone who knows me well knows that numbers and I do not get along. Never have. People in my family can do long division in their head. My wife can remember a phone number she dialed once five years ago. My forte is in words, conversations, lectures. In college when reviewing my notes for a test I could tell you a story from the notes about what else happened in class: the lights went out here, the professor digressed and told that wonderful story about his childhood there. Numbers frustrate me. I can work with them and I can manage them but, I cannot regurgitate them off the top of my head. I love history. It took me years to discover that because history is forever linked with dates and dates are numbers. One of my favorite quips is when was the war of 1812? Because that is how my brain works. Tell me a story and I am hooked for life. Read me a bunch of numbers and you lost me at hello.
One of the reasons I dislike numbers is the fact that they often do not tell the entire story. If we get 1.91 inches of rain in a month but one event is 1.25 inches it is a completely different story. Some of the basics of rainfall were covered in last weeks post alluding to the difference between irrigation and rain. I posted a link from a colleague that explained it beautifully. An additional basic rule of thumb to keep in mind for this post is in the Northeast turfgrass needs an inch of rain a week or approximately .12" per day in the summer months. A review of the numbers will illustrate just how dry it has been this summer. I could say we had a cold wet spring followed by a hot humid summer with very little rain but that is a vague summary. Below is a breakdown of the numbers
                    Temp           Rainfall    Rain events           Temperature data days at or above or (actual) or in:
Month     High - low         Total      .10" or above            90     80     75     (74.6)    60's
Jan          58.7 - 8.0          2.11        
Feb         51.0 - 17.3        3.95        
Mar        55.2 - 23.7        4.78        
Apr         68.4 - 29.7        3.43        
May        81.6 - 57.4        4.37        
June        83.7 - 51.7        7.97          09                         00     06     07       04          04
July         96.4 - 63.5        2.37          08                         04     16     09       00          01
Aug        85.2 - 53.8        1.91          04                         00     09     16        00         00
Sept       83.0 - 45.9         0.65          04                         00     03     06       02          08
Oct        80.9 - 60.5         0.42          01                         00     01     01       01          01

The story behind the numbers and numbers of interest:
June had three rain events over one inch but these massive t-storms just grazed us as courses off-island were getting close to three and four inches and the temps were warmer than I remember.
July was the toughest month anyone can remember out here. 4 days in a row in the 90's was unprecedented. There were only two days not above 75. I hope to never see another month like that one.
August is when the drought began. The numbers mentioned above of 1.91" and one storm being 1.25" was in this month. We needed to water a lot to recover from the heat of July and our saltwater intrusion began.
September brought more of the same and even though the weather was great for recovery and playing golf I could not add enough water to overcome the deficit. Did the addition of salt aid in our slow recovery also? I am assuming it did not help.
October has just begun and so far it is my favorite month. Actually had a day in the 80's great for turf growth and today it finally rained. Here's to a great month and no more talk of the bizarre weather we seem to be having this year.

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