Near drought conditions expand across New York

Continued lack of rain across New York State, including the Finger Lakes, is cause for concern.
Continued lack of rain across New York State, including the Finger Lakes, is cause for concern.

Continued lack of rain across New York State, including the Finger Lakes, is cause for concern.

More dry weather across New York State and the Finger Lakes. After being missed completely this morning by rain associated with sever weather across the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic, the next real chance for rain will not come until early next week.

More and more I am hearing people concerned about the dry weather. Whether it is for agricultural interests or well water levels, the lack of rain is raising concerns for many.

Each Thursday, a collaboration of organizations, including the US Department of Agricluture (USDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), put out a report on the drought status across the United States. This weekly US Drought Monitor Report is a great way to track not only the current status of drought, but the trends as well.

The US Drought Monitor report for June 23, 2016 show the vast majority of New York State as Abnormally Dry.
The US Drought Monitor report for June 23, 2016 show the vast majority of New York State as Abnormally Dry.

This week’s report was just issued and there are a couple of important statistics I’d like to point out.

First, the entire Finger Lakes area is now classified as D0- Abnormally Dry. This is the lowest level of drought and it is not too uncommon to see patches of D0 in our region from time to time. However, looking at New York as a whole, nearly 89% of the state is now classified as being Abnormally Dry or in D1- Moderate Drought. This is a 23% jump in coverage from last week’s report.

Using the Drought Monitor data archives, this is the 12th highest percentage of D0 in New York State in a single week dating back to 2000. This is also the most widespread Abnormally Dry classification sine July 2012.

So far, the D1- Moderate Drought status has been limited to Long Island and the New York City area. With the majority of the next 7-10 days being dry and a lack of widespread, significant rainfall in the forecast, I would not be surprised to see some Moderate Drought status elsewhere in New York State before long.

While certainly not the worst drought we have seen in the Finger Lakes, we are off to a fast start to what many forecasts are expecting to be a hot, dry summer. Another period of hot, dry weather will move in for the weekend, with temperatures Sunday pushing to 90 degrees for many areas once again.

Like last weekend, this will be a dry heat, with dew points in the 40s and 50s resulting in relative humidity levels of 20-40%. While this will make for great summer weekend weather, what we really need is a slow and steady soaking rain.

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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.) When not forecasting, he can be found working at the local library, making soap, or playing with his two young boys.