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Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 02/24/2009

Dry Fall and Winter a Prelude to Drought?

By Jason Samenow

* Warming up: Full Forecast | Warming Projections Rise *

For four, going on five consecutive months, precipitation has been below average. Not since September, when the remnants of tropical storm Hanna drenched the region, have we experienced a wet month.

Our precipitation deficit (compared to average) since October 1 is about 5 inches. As noted on Capital Climate, February 2009 stands a chance of becoming the driest February on record at Reagan National Airport depending on how much it rains Friday. Just 0.26" of rain (or melted snow) has fallen to date.


Drought assessment for Maryland and D.C. (top) and Virginia (bottom) as of February 17. Courtesy U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates our region is now abnormally dry, but not yet in a drought (although drought conditions have already emerged in parts of western Virginia). If drier than average conditions persist through the spring, we will have drought conditions by the summer. This is definitely a situation we'll be tracking...

By Jason Samenow  | February 24, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Droughts, Local Climate  
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Comments

It's definitely possible, though there still seem to be plenty of rain forecasts for my dance nights, this Friday being a notable case in point.

I seem to have heard someone yesterday saying that a new El Nino could be setting up in the Pacific. This could cut down on hurricanes, but ruin next winter for us. We probably need a "La Nada" for a good snow winter around here. This winter started out so promising only to slip back into La Nina territory. Look for a severe-weather prone spring, though it could lead to a hot, dry summer if El Nino decides to set up. This could also cut back on our 2009 hurricane season, enhancing the dry summer.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 24, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

...also, the objective short term guidance suggests the possibility of "moderate drought" (D-0) conditions in the near future. (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/tools/edb/sbfinal.gif)

Posted by: Josh-CapitalWeatherGang | February 24, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

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