What Do Drought Conditions Mean For You in the Southern Tier
Driving in to work I cross the Susquehanna and always admire it's beauty. Over the last few months, I have watched the water level get lower and lower and now you can see the river bottom with green grasses and river rock.
We are in drought conditions and it's important that everyone starts to conserve water, especially if you are on a well like my household. When the earth heats up and you drought conditions, it poses a great threat to local wildlife including birds who depend on fresh water.
The drought has slowly built up over the last few months. According to Ben Schott,
Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service in Johnson City, "the last few months we have averaged an inch or more below normal for rainfall, and throw that in with above normal temperatures for much of the period it really starts to pull the water out of the topsoil."
At Binghamton Airport we have been below normal for precipitation every month but February for 2016, and since March, 5.76 inches below normal. The Finger Lakes region and further into Western New York have been more impacted but the Twin Tiers are definitely seeing its share of lack of rainfall.
The way Ben Schott at NOAA explains it, "drought tends to bring more drought, less moisture for storms to pull from the ground to produce rainfall, and the drier soil conditions allows for the ground to heat more and dry out even more."
So what does all this mean for the weeks ahead? Nothing in the pattern shows that any significant changes are around the corner, so this may continue for the next few weeks to few months. It would take multiple widespread moderate rainfall events that dropped a slow 1 inch or more over a day to start to get us going the other way against this drought trend.
Nothing in the next 2 to 4 weeks shows anything like that right now, so the lawnmower may be kicking up more dust than cutting grass. No cause for alarm right now as there is plenty of water in the ground below the first few feet, this is nothing like California drought, not even close.
Thanks to Ben Schott for his expertise and wonderful insight. He adds that "these happen every 10-15 years, and this one will pass as well...though not likely this summer."
The important thing is to conserve water, avoid wasting water, maybe wash the car less and if you're on a well, wait at least 20 minutes between washing the next load of clothes or watering the garden.