5/26/12 12:30 update
Rainfall over the last few weeks have helped to alleviate the drought conditions Orange County was facing. Although the weather has been overcast with showers just about every day for 3 weeks now, don’t let that fool you. Orange County has still only seen 3″ to 4″ of rain for the entire month, some of which came in brief, heavy bursts and turned into runoff before the ground could absorb it. The few inches of rain was not much help after a snow-free winter. Although ground levels are moist enough to alleviate the constant brush fire threats we were facing last month at this time, some water sources still remain lower than normal. Last month’s drought no longer exists, but a period of hot, dry weather could cause drought conditions to return.
Expect continued overcast to partly sunny conditions with showers lingering around portions of the Hudson Valley for the next several days. These storms will not become severe.
4/13/12 12:15pm update…
Due to the precipitation deficits from the prolonged dry spell throughout the winter and the beginning of spring, the U.S. Drought Monitor yesterday declared a “D2″ severe drought across portions of southeastern New York, and a “D1″ moderate drought over portions of the lower Hudson Valley and NYC.
As of yesterday, mean areal precipitation totals over the last two month period were below normal. The departure from normal ranged from 4″ to 6″.
As of the beginning of April, the National Weather Service reports normal to above normal soil conditions. But with the recent dry conditions for the past several months and more dry conditions forecasted for at least the next two weeks, soil moisture conditions are expected to steadily decrease.
In addition, stream flow conditions continue to remain below normal across southeast NY. Reservoir levels across the NYC water supply system were reported at being approximately 6% below normal. However, ground water levels varied across the region. Some wells reported water levels within the normal range, but others already reported being below normal.
The Climate Prediction Center outlook for the month of April calls for above normal temperatures with near normal precipitation. However, I believe this forecast to be slightly askew and precipitation totals are highly likely to remain well below the normal levels by the end of the month.
We will also have to keep an eye on the fire danger. Red Flag Warnings (for fire danger) have been posted across the Hudson Valley on several occasions over the past few weeks. At one point, the national Storm Prediction Center placed southern NY under a “critical risk” of wild fires – the same day of the massive forest fire on Long Island. With no significant rain in the near-term forecast, the risk of brush fires will remain elevated, especially on days with low humidity and breezy conditions.
Will update on the drought conditions for May toward the end of this month – and continue to post on severe weather as needed. However, no severe weather is likely across the Hudson Valley in the near future.