- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2002

If Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening warns of bone-dry conditions, plan on bringing along an umbrella.
Three times this year the governor's announcements or plans for regional drought restrictions have been accompanied by heavy rains.
On March 18, Mr. Glendening canceled a news conference in Frederick, Md., to declare a drought warning in all or part of seven central Maryland counties. The reason for the cancelation? Rain. More than half an inch fell across the state during four days of showers.
The governor finally issued the drought warning on April 5, and April went on to become the first "wetter than normal" month since July 2001, according to National Weather Service statistics.
So it should have come as little surprise that dark clouds formed overhead just after the governor had announced a drought emergency in 16 counties on Tuesday. The rain started that night, and the NWS predicts that as much as 3 inches could fall in some parts of the state through tomorrow.
"He's as good at predicting the weather as he is at putting together a budget and a map," said Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, a frequent Glendening critic, referring to the nearly $1 billion state budget shortfall and the governor's redistricting plan that was struck down by the Maryland Court of Appeals.
The Maryland Department of the Environment was at a loss to explain the coincidences but was quick to credit the governor.
"He does seem like a rainmaker in some of these situations," spokesman Richard McIntire said.
The last time Mr. Glendening issued a drought emergency for the state on July 29, 1999 15 months of dry weather ended abruptly with Hurricane Floyd dumping more than a foot of rain on parts of the upper Eastern Shore in September. That announcement was made at the Liberty Reservoir west of Baltimore in Carroll County the same site at which Mr. Glendening made the announcement on Tuesday.
So should residents expect history to repeat itself?
"Never doubt the power of Parris N. Glendening," said Glendening spokeswoman Susan Woods.
Miss Woods said the governor was "very pleased" the state was getting some much-needed showers but stressed that a few days of rain is unlikely to significantly alter the rainfall deficit.
State officials say the deficit has been building for a year and ranges statewide from 5 to 13 inches. Even the regular amount of rainfall through the end of the year would be unlikely to make up the difference, they say.
The emergency status issued Tuesday for most of the state restricts watering lawns, using various watering devices, irrigating, and washing cars and hard surfaces such as driveways. It also requires most businesses and industries to reduce water usage by 10 percent and prohibits eating establishments from serving water unless requested by customers.
The NWS's Climate Prediction Center said the drought is likely to intensify through November after Marylanders have elected a successor to the term-limited governor.

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