Drought Down & Out; Pollen Poised to Return
The drought is done, and thankfully Mother Nature has been gentle, yet methodical, about erasing our precipitation deficit.
Just six weeks ago the D.C. area had entered a moderate drought, as classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor. A dry February -- the driest on record at Reagan National Airport -- had helped push precipitation totals since Jan. 1 to nearly 5 inches below normal. At that time, although rain was in the short-term forecast, we cautioned that "to really get ourselves out from the growing grip of drought we'll need rainfall over the next few months that is more consistent than that of the past several."
Mission accomplished, though not without a potential downside.
Keep reading for some of the drought-busting stats, and yet still a reason to complain (because we can't not complain about the weather, right?)...
Fortunately, this drought has not ended with a too-much-too-soon deluge in the way that some have ended in the past, but rather with frequent rains spread out over time. Since March 26, National Airport has recorded at least a trace of rain on 26 of 43 days. Yesterday was the ninth consecutive day the area has seen at least a trace of rain -- often a good bit more. Precipitation totals since our rain streak began on April 29 are...
- National Airport: 3.33"
- Dulles Airport: 3.32"
- BWI Airport: 3.97"
(Note: At BWI, the rain streak was interrupted for a day on April 30, when the airport did not record any precipitation.)
All three airports are now within 1 inch of normal for the year. And so, for the first time since early February, the metro area is neither in drought nor even abnormally dry, according to this week's Drought Monitor map, which doesn't even include the impacts of rainfall since Tuesday morning. The news is good for farmers, good for area water supplies, good for the local economy, and good for all those flowers you planted earlier this spring.
The bad news? (besides the inconvenience caused by recently relentless rains)... All this rain, which has knocked the pollen count down from its staggering late-April levels, has trees and flowers poised to pollinate once again as drier and sunnier weather moves in for Mother's Day and beyond.
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