Finger Lakes Drought Report: July 12, 2018

finger lakes drought map thursday july 12 2018
Pre-drought conditions persist across all of the Finger Lakes while the Southern Tier has not yet been added to this classification. [Data sourced from the US Drought Monitor]

Finger Lakes Drought Status

While not yet officially classified as being in a drought, most of the Finger Lakes region is starting to feel the effects of a long period of below normal precipitation.

Level 0- Abnormally Dry status was first introduced back into the region three weeks ago on the June 21st Drought Report. In the reports since this pre-drought status has spread steadily across the region.

Over the last week, however, there was no change in the drought status immediately in the Finger Lakes.

Pre-drought conditions exist throughout the region, extending from the shore of Lake Ontario south to the Southern Tier. The Southern Tier itself has not yet been assigned a drought classification.

These conditions extend beyond the Finger Lakes and into most of Upstate New York and New England. The worst drought conditions extend from southern Maine into southern New Hampshire, Southern Vermont, and eastern New York. The Tug Hill Region was also just added into the Level 1- Moderate Drought classification

In all, 62.96% of New York State has been classified as D0- Abnormally Dry. This is an increase from 57.86% in last week’s report. Additionally, 9.28% of New York State has entered into D1- Moderate Drought status, compared to just 0.7% last week.

Just as a refresher, the drought status is set by the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is a joint project of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Reports are published every Thursday and include data through Tuesday of the current week (i.e. through July 10th for this report). The Drought Monitor uses a wide variety of data sources, including but not at all limited to recent precipitation data.

Rain Outlook

After seeing virtually no rain this week, there are some signs of hope coming up.

First is a series of disturbances that will move through the region on Saturday. Some scattered showers and perhaps a thunderstorm will pop up across the Finger Lakes. Saturday’s rain will not help the overall picture though. The rain that falls will be quite light and many areas may not see any rain at all.

The next chance for rain will come late Monday into Tuesday as a cold front sweeps through. The chances for rain here are much, much better.

At this very early stage, rain amounts are expected to be in the ballpark of a half-inch. Thunderstorms will be possible, so locally higher amounts should be expected. This type of rain will not reverse drought trends either, but it will at least slow the progression of the drought slightly.

The picture beyond Tuesday becomes fuzzy as day to day uncertainties increase to a point where there is zero confidence in a specific day’s forecast.

The pattern, however, looks to at least have the chance for disturbances accompanied by rain from time to time. Overall though, I would venture to say the 7-15 day period will turn out slightly drier than normal.

I expect, therefore, that our drought status will remain about the same over the next couple of weeks, thought there is a chance that Level 1- Moderate Drought status could be introduced to the region if we miss out on substantial rain from thunderstorms.

The Finger Lakes Drought Report will be published each Thursday morning between 8:30-9am unless other significant weather is ongoing. Drought Reports will continue until conditions improve in the Finger Lakes.

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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 goat milk soap, running until his legs burn, or playing with his three young boys.