Finger Lakes Drought Report: September 22, 2016

finger lakes extreme drought 2016
Extreme Drought conditions continue across the majority of the Finger Lakes region.

Extreme Drought conditions continue across the majority of the Finger Lakes region.

Drought Status

Extreme, Level 3 drought continues across the heart of the Finger Lakes region. Those parts of the Finger Lakes not classified as a Level 3 Drought are placed in a Level 2 (Severe) Drought.

There has been no change in the map locally during the past week, except for the far southwest corner where some improvement has been seen over Cataraugus County.

In all, 9.94% of New York State is listed as being in an extreme drought. All of that is in the Finger Lakes.

Areas further east remain less affected by the drought with a very sharp cut off between a serious situation and no drought. Cortland County is a prime example of this, with the western part of the county in a Severe Drought, but the eastern part in no drought.

The percent of New York State not in a drought increased from 13.99% last week to 14.28% this week. This slight adjustment was again over southwestern New York.

Recent Rain History

finger lakes drought rain amounts august september
Rain amounts across the Finger Lakes have been near or below normal during the last 60 days.

The Finger Lakes region has seen little to no improvement in the rain fall deficits across the region during the later half of summer.

August may have seemed rainier, but most of what fell simply kept the status quo as opposed to actually helping reverse the below normal precipitation trends.

Since late July, the vast majority of the Finger Lakes region has been near or below normal in precipitation. Some areas have added another three or four inches onto the total rainfall deficit.

The widespread rain that fell last weekend amounted to one to two inches for many areas. While this may have had some short term benefits for the very top of the soil, it did little to nothing to replenish depleted water sources.

Drought Persists

Unfortunately, it does not appear that our fortunes will change as summer ends and autumn begins. Continued dry, sunny weather is likely for the vast majority of the remainder of September.

Even as a cold front pushes through the area on Friday, rain will be scattered and very light, with no real impact on our drought status.

Much of the region could very well see less than an inch of rain over the next two weeks.

The tropics do not look to be overly helpful at this point in time, either. There is a very small (less than 5%) chance that a weak tropical system could spin up off the Mid-Atlantic or New England coast towards the middle of next week. There is an even small chance that such a system could bring substantial rain to the Finger Lakes. It is certainly nothing that can be expected though and I am grasping at any little chance there may be for rain.

Preliminary expectations are for a warm fall and late start to winter. This often coincides with dry weather for our region, so I do not expect any drought improvement any time soon.

If there is any good news, it is this: as we head deeper into autumn, the sun’s strength will continue to wane and evaporation from the ground will become less and less.

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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.

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