Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Sterling, VA

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000 AXUS71 KLWX 231323 DGTLWX DCC001-MDC003-005-013-021-025-027-031-033-510-VAC003-013-015-047- 059-061-079-091-107-113-125-137-139-153-157-165-177-179-510-540- 600-610-630-660-683-685-790-820-WVC071-312300- Drought Information Statement National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC 923 AM EDT Thu Mar 23 2017 ...SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS PERSIST WEST/SOUTHWEST OF DC...BUT IMPROVEMENT OCCURRING IN SOME AREAS... SYNOPSIS... As of March 21st 2017, the U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that Severe Drought (D2) conditions are persisting west and southwest of the District of Columbia. The following indicates the worst drought category in each county/city where such conditions exist: Severe Drought (D2) in all or portions of: District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Fauquier County, Culpeper County, Orange County, and the cities of Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park. (Change from last statement: D2 improved to D1 in the counties of Arlington, Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George`s, Stafford, and Spotsylvania, and the cities of Falls Church and Alexandria.) Moderate Drought (D1) in all or portions of: Frederick County (MD), Carroll County, Baltimore County, Harford County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George`s County, Arlington County, Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, Rappahannock County, Madison County, Greene County, Albemarle County, Nelson County, Augusta County, Rockingham County, Page County, Highland County, Pendleton County, and the cities of Baltimore, Falls Church, Alexandria, Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Staunton, and Harrisonburg. (Change from last statement: D1 improved to D0 in Charles County and the city of Fredericksburg and D0 degraded to D1 in the counties of Rockingham, Page, Highland, and Pendleton, and the cities of Staunton and Harrisonburg.) A small portion of the area is designated as Abnormally Dry (D0), which includes portions of Shenandoah County, Warren County, Clarke County, Jefferson County, Berkeley County, Washington County, and Charles County. SUMMARY OF IMPACTS... State and Local Declarations: The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) continues the declaration of a Drought Warning for the Central Region of the state, which includes Frederick, Carroll, and Harford Counties, and portions of Montgomery and Baltimore Counties not served by the Baltimore or WSSC public water systems. This drought warning is based on indicators of precipitation, groundwater, streamflow, and reservoir storage. In a Drought Warning, water conservation is encouraged. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has declared a Drought Watch for the Northern Piedmont region of the state, which includes Culpeper, Greene, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, and Stafford Counties, and the City of Fredericksburg. A Drought Watch has also been declared for the Northern Virginia region, which specifically applies to public or private groundwater supplies or private surface water supplies in Fauquier, Prince William, and Loudoun Counties. Water systems using the Potomac or Occoquan are not included in this declaration. Hydrologic Impacts: Soil moisture is below normal across most of the area, and is well below normal particularly in the Severe Drought (D2) and Moderate Drought (D1) areas, where in many spots it is below the 5th percentile for this time of year. Recent rainfall has caused some variation in groundwater levels compared to prior weeks. Many of the real-time groundwater monitoring wells, especially the shallower aquifers, have seen a tangible rise in water levels. This is especially true in Northern Virginia and central Maryland. The deeper wells, and those in Central Virginia, still do not show much movement; and in fact, the monitoring site in Orange County is still at its lowest level at this time of year in the last ten years. Agricultural Impacts: The unseasonably warm and dry weather in February caused trees and flowers to bud several weeks earlier than usual. Recent hard freezes have caused some damage to these plants. Assessments from agricultural analysts will be available in the coming week and will be provided in the next drought statement. Some pasturelands are in poor condition due to the lack of rain. The warmer weather caused the maple sap season to end earlier than usual, lessening production. Fire Danger Impacts: The 4:00 p.m. Burning Law is in effect through April 30th for all of Virginia. This law mandates that no burning is permitted before 4 p.m. if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland, or fields containing dry grass or other flammable material. At this time, there are no other known burn bans in place. However, that can quickly change so please consult your county or state fire officials before attempting to burn. CLIMATE SUMMARY... While there have not been any blockbuster rain events, the weather pattern has turned more active in the last two weeks or so, bringing multiple opportunities for rain and even snow. In the week since the last drought statement, precipitation has been above normal from DC southward to Fredericksburg, and in a few other spotty areas. Combining this with the week before (14 days) yields above normal precipitation almost everywhere east of the Blue Ridge (except near Charlottesville). Deficits still exist at longer timescales, which is the primary reflection of the Drought Monitor at present. However, these deficits are no longer among the ten driest on record for the time period. PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK... A brief break in the weather pattern with high pressure over the Atlantic will keep conditions generally dry through Saturday the 25th. The pattern looks to become more active from Sunday the 26th through Tuesday the 28th, with multiple opportunities for rain showers, and totals perhaps exceeding an inch. This could allow for continued improvement of drought conditions. Temperatures should be at or above normal through the week. The 8-to-14 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center favors above normal precipitation and above normal temperatures. The drought outlook calls for drought conditions to be alleviated by the end of June, except in the Severe Drought areas, where it is expected to persist but with improving conditions. HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK... Recent rains have provided improvement to base streamflow in most of Maryland, the DC metro area, and extreme eastern West Virginia panhandle. These streamflows are still below normal overall, but are much improved than they were a week or two ago. Streamflows are still low in much of Northern Virginia, especially as you go further south and west from DC. Several streams in the Upper Rapidan, Upper Rappahannock, Middle James, and South Fork Shenandoah River basins are at record lows for this time of year. Upcoming rains should bring additional short-term improvement, but the overall improvement will be gradual. Soil moisture levels are also expected to remain below normal, while groundwater conditions are expected to remain generally unchanged or slightly improve. Given that there are now flowering plants and trees are leafing out, these plants need the water and will soak up groundwater and soil moisture that does attempt to increase. NEXT ISSUANCE DATE... This product will be issued weekly as long as Severe Drought (D2) conditions exist within the Baltimore/Washington area of responsibility. As such, the next update will be on Friday March 31st 2017. && RELATED WEB SITES... Additional information on current drought conditions may be found at the following web addresses... US Drought Monitor...http://www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu NWS Drought Page...http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/drought Climate Prediction Center (CPC)...http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov ADDITIONAL RIVER INFORMATION... National Weather Service...http://water.weather.gov US Geological Survey...http://water.usgs.gov ACKNOWLEDGMENTS... The drought monitor is a multi-agency effort involving NOAA`s National Weather Service and National Climatic Data Center, the USDA, state and regional center climatologists, and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Information for this statement has been gathered from NWS and FAA observation sites, State Cooperative Extension Services, the USDA, USACE, and USGS. QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS... If you have questions or comments about this Drought Information Statement...please contact... National Weather Service 43858 Weather Service Road Sterling, VA 20166 Phone: 703-996-2200 lwxwebmaster@noaa.gov $$

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