All the "snow holes" we've seen this winter may have negative implications for the upcoming growing season. According to the latest U.S. drought monitor, abnormally dry conditions cover much of the metro region, with moderate drought conditions developing not far to the west and southwest.
The Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) has discontinued the drought watch it issued for the area on September 9.
What a difference a week makes. Barely more than a week ago, the 2010 rainfall deficit in Washington, D.C. (as recorded at Reagan National Airport) was nearly 7.5". That deficit has since been reduced to just about 2.5"
No doubt we're in a dry stretch. Aug. 22 and 23 are the last time more than a trace of rain was measured at Reagan National and Dulles airports, respectively. BWI's virtually rainless streak also goes back to Aug. 23. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor issued this morning, the recent dryness and an overall deficit in precipitation for the year to date has much of the area classified as "abnormally dry" -- just a step away from "moderate drought" -- with the exception of D.C. proper and Prince George's, Howard and eastern Montgomery counties.
After the warmest and one of the drier (60% of average rainfall) Junes on record, drought, or at least the perception of drought, enters people's minds, as it is now. In the past, however, when rain was badly needed (or sought for military advantage), people used the most bizarre methods imaginable. What were some of them?
Despite recent rains, actual precipitation has been somewhat below normal here since February. Most of us, however, would not construe the current weather pattern as anything close to being a "drought." We tend to reserve that term, along with the expected heat and humidity, for use during the summer. But although we usually experience at least one or two rainless stretches each summer, does the long-term average really substantiate summertime drought here? The answer may surprise you.