Finger Lakes Drought Report: July 19, 2018

finger lakes drought map thursday july 19 2018
Moderate drought has been introduced to the region in this week’s drought report. Click image to enlarge. [Data obtained from the US Drought Monitor]

Finger Lakes Drought Status

Drought has crept closer to the Finger Lakes with this week’s report while much of the region remains abnormally dry.Much of the rain that fell over the last week came after 8 am Tuesday and was therefore not considered for this week’s drought report. How much (or little) Tuesday’s rain helped will not show up until next week’s report.

As such, the amount of drought in New York increased from a little over 9% of the state last week to 12.81% this week. All of this drought is still at Level 1- Moderate Drought.

The area of abnormally dry conditions also expanded and is now over 67% compared to just shy of 63% last week. This expansion took place over northern New York.

The only change in the map locally is for the area between Rochester and Buffalo, which has been changed from Level 0- Abnormally Dry to Level 1- Moderate Drought.

The Southern Tier remains unclassified with rain continuing to be more plentiful there than further north.

Recent Rainfall

The last week has been very feast-or-famine as far as rainfall. Some areas have seen almost too much rain while others have once again been mostly missed.

Areas along and north of I-90 generally saw less than a half-inch of rain over the last seven days.

Conversely, the Southern Tier saw multiple rounds of thunderstorms Saturday and Tuesday, resulting in widespread rain amounts over 2 inches.

Cortland County also saw heavy rain, but most of the 2-4 inches that fell there came all at once very quickly Tuesday evening. While still helpful for the water tables, such a fast and furious dumping of rain is not as beneficial as a slow and steady rain or multiple days of rain.

finger lakes weather rain estimates july 12-18, 2018
Rain amounts over the Finger Lakes between July 12-18, 2018. Click the image to enlarge.
finger lakes weather rain estimates percent normal july 12-18, 2018
Rain amounts over the Finger Lakes between July 12-18, 2018. Click the image to enlarge.

When looking at the last week’s rainfall compared to normal, only the areas that saw heavy thunderstorms come out above normal. Most of the region ended up with less than 75% of the normal weekly rainfall. Areas west of Rochester saw under 5% of normal.

So, while pockets of the region saw some relief, the overall picture has not improved much over the last seven days.

More Rain Chances Coming

There is more reason to hope, however.

A pattern change will evolve over the weekend and into next week that will bring more chances for rain to the region.

The first shot of rain will be possible early Sunday morning. This is still very uncertain, but if this rain makes it into the Finger Lakes, a soaking of 1-2 inches could be possible.

However, my hopes for the coming week are not hinging on rain early Sunday. Instead, rain will be possible most days next week.

The day-to-day details and variations will still need to be worked out. Some days will likely have more widespread rain than others. At this point, Wednesday and Thursday look especially wet.

The rain will likely be in the form of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. This, of course, could lead to the same feast-or-famine problem of the past week, but storms right now look more numerous and spread across several days, so the chances for relief are greater.

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.

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