The sponge looks a little dry… | Summer Evaluation and Outlook | Josh O and Mark G
Josh- With this on and off rain pattern we seem to be in, it made me think about how the state is when it comes to drought. We are pretty below average on the totals this year, our abnormally dry winter and lacking spring rain is to cause it seems. With 1.8 inches of snow recorded at BWI and 12.68 inches of rain, we are pretty dry! The drought monitor map attached shows that parts of the southern Delmarva is under a little but of a drought and areas in southern Maryland.
Mark- Mild to severe drought conditions have been developing over parts of the state over the last few months. The winter of 2011-2012 was relatively dry coupled with a fairly dry early spring. Though over the past few months, we have shifted into a somewhat wetter pattern, there is still major rain deficits occurring on the Eastern Shore, Prince Georges and Anne Arundel
counties. These areas are experiencing “severe” drought conditions according to Palmer Drought Severity index (which looks at long term precipitation trends). Mild drought conditions are being experienced in the 3 southern Maryland counties as well as Garrett County in Western Maryland. As of June 9th, crop soil moisture was still OK across the state, thanks to some rain over the last few days. (See Map)
However, one should realize that all it will take are a few successive days of sunny and dry weather to evaporate what soil moisture exists especially on the Eastern Shore where the soils tends to be more sandy and not as able to hold moisture from rains as the darker and richer soils of the Piedmont and valleys of the Appalachian region are better at doing. As far as we know, there are no drought advisories, bans on burning or massive water restrictions being issued yet, but it is sure something to keep an eye on. A couple tips for conserving water that are always good to follow even when there are no drought conditions- for instance:
1. Do not water your grass, gardens and outdoor plants during the morning or afternoon. Instead water during the evening hours when the sun is not as strong or has gone down completely-this gives the soil more time to absorb the water over the night-time hours without losing moisture due to the sun
2. During dry periods, dont cut your grass, if it hasnt dried up already, it will dry up quicker after you cut it.
3. Try to take shorter showers or baths
Finally, will we see more rain? According to Climate Prediction Center, we have a 30-40% chance through the end of the month of June of seeing above normal rainfall-especially the further east you go which would be welcome news for farmers on the Delmarva. For July and August, we will issue another discussion/analysis in a couple of weeks, but realize this… if we dont get the rain we need over these next couple of weeks and on top of that experience above normal temps, the situation will be more precarious for gardeners, farmers and municipalities as we head into the hottest part of summer-early July to mid August.
So to wrap up, are we in a drought? No, not yet! But we might if that rain stays away, we are hoping for a pattern change to flip the coin and give us some of that much needed rain!