Thursday, August 19, 2010

Drought Update Thursday: Improvement Expected Through Fall

We've picked up as much as 2"-3" (or more in spots) of rain the past several days in central Virginia as a stalled front lingered in the state and upper disturbances continued to track over the region. Richmond currently stands at 1.83" for our storm total rainfall, with another batch of showers on the way from southwest Virginia today.

RIC August to date: 3.86"
RIC Year to date: 22.67" (-5.79" from average)

This has been beneficial rainfall for much of our region, but isn't enough to pull us out of the drought...yet. The seasonal outlook just released this morning shows that we should see significant improvement in the drought through November:
If we can avoid more persistent high pressure ridges parking over us the rest of the Summer, storm tracks and fronts can reach us, leading to rain events like we've had this week. In addition, we still have more than half of hurricane season to get through, which could significantly help our rainfall deficit if a system or its remnants track over the Commonwealth. In fact, tropical systems account for 10% to 40% of Virginia's September rain totals.
The climatological "peak" of hurricane season is September 10, but systems can continue to impact the East Coast generally through October.

This week's Drought Monitor map doesn't include the rainfall over the past two days (because it only considers data through Tuesday morning, before the rain started) so it might not reflect how we are really faring after the past couple of days. Nevertheless, the past two days of rain likely isn't enough to end severe drought conditions like this:

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