Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Sterling, VA

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000 AXUS71 KLWX 151508 DGTLWX DCC001-MDC003-005-025-027-031-033-510-VAC013-059-061-107-153-179- 510-600-610-683-685-222300- Drought Information Statement National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC 1000 AM EST Thu Feb 15 2018 ...SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN DROUGHT CONDITIONS AFTER RECENT RAINS... SYNOPSIS... As of February 13th 2018, the U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that significant improvement has occurred in drought conditions, with improvements in status of one to two categories in most areas. There are no longer any D2 (Severe Drought) conditions denoted across the mid-Atlantic region. D1 (Moderate Drought) conditions are now designated only for a small -- but significant -- portion of the area, including the District of Columbia, Baltimore City, parts of Harford, Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland, and parts of Fauquier, Stafford, Prince William, Loudoun, and Fairfax Counties in Virginia, as well as all of Arlington County and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, Falls Church, Fairfax, and Alexandria. The D1 area covers 11 percent of our service area, versus 55 percent last week. Most of the rest of the area, east of the Blue Ridge and Catoctin Mountains, is now designated as D0 (Abnormally Dry). This also includes the cities of Harrisonsburg, Waynesboro, and Staunton west of the Blue Ridge. SUMMARY OF IMPACTS... State and Local Declarations: A Drought Watch has been declared by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for all of northern Virginia, except for King George County, Highland County, and communities whose water supplies come from the Potomac River or Occoquan Reservoir. A Drought Watch has been recommended for Highland County but has not yet been declared. A Drought Watch has also been declared by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for its Central and Southern regions, which include Frederick, Carroll, Harford, Charles, Calvert, and Saint Mary`s Counties, as well as portions of Montgomery, Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George`s, and Baltimore Counties that are not serviced by WSSC or Baltimore City water systems. Both of these declarations date back to before the recent rainfall. No other state or local declarations are known as of the time of this statement. Hydrologic Impacts: Soil moisture remains below normal in portions of the area, but with some improvement due to recent rains. The rain has finally put a stop to the persistent downturn in groundwater levels, and in fact, many have seen a multiple foot water level rise since the beginning of February. This even includes the groundwater monitoring well in Orange County, Virginia, which is now above the prior record lows, having risen a few feet in the last week. Some municipalities implement voluntary or mandatory water restrictions when streamflow levels drop. Please check to see if your community is included in these water restrictions. CLIMATE SUMMARY... For the first time in months, we can finally say that recent conditions have been wet. For the first half of February, rain (combined with melted snow, where appropriate) amounts have ranged from around two inches in the Potomac Highlands to 3-4 inches in most areas, with a swath of 4-6 inches extending either side of a line from Charlottesville VA to Fredericksburg VA to Annapolis MD. These amounts are above normal across the board, and more than four times normal in the heaviest locations. These rains have largely eliminated winter precipitation deficits, and have started to eat away at rainfall deficits from the fall. Generally speaking, we still need to make up 1-3 inches of steadier rain that can permeate into the subsurface, in order to completely break out of the drought in the areas where drought remains. Some statistics for the major cities in the D1-designated area: (Statistics are preliminary and subject to correction.) WASHINGTON REAGAN NATIONAL (DCA) Data ending 2/14/2018 -------------------------------- Timeframe Total Departure % of Normal ---------------------------------------------------------------- Month to Date 3.90 inches +2.58 inches 295 percent 2018 to Date 4.84 inches +0.71 inch 117 percent Last 30 Days 4.20 inches +1.42 inches 151 percent Last 60 Days 5.05 inches -0.45 inch 92 percent Last 90 Days 5.43 inches -3.25 inches 63 percent Last 120 Days 8.53 inches -3.35 inches 72 percent Last 180 Days 11.84 inches -6.79 inches 64 percent Last 365 Days 37.54 inches -2.20 inches 95 percent 1/2017 - Today 40.44 inches -3.43 inches 92 percent 1/2016 - Today 72.14 inches -11.47 inches 86 percent BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL (BWI) Data ending 2/14/2018 ---------------------------------------- Timeframe Total Departure % of Normal ---------------------------------------------------------------- Month to Date 3.82 inches +2.39 inches 267 percent 2018 to Date 4.82 inches +0.34 inch 108 percent Last 30 Days 4.18 inches +1.17 inches 139 percent Last 60 Days 5.24 inches -0.76 inch 87 percent Last 90 Days 5.96 inches -3.47 inches 63 percent Last 120 Days 9.49 inches -3.13 inches 75 percent Last 180 Days 13.68 inches -6.15 inches 69 percent Last 365 Days 39.95 inches -1.93 inches 95 percent 1/2017 - Today 43.10 inches -3.26 inches 93 percent 1/2016 - Today 83.62 inches -4.62 inches 95 percent PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK... The active weather pattern of the first half of February looks to continue in the second half of the month. Rain is expected tonight (February 15) and Friday (February 16), with another system bringing rain -- and perhaps a period of ice or snow on Saturday (February 17). After a break on Sunday (February 18), there is at least a chance of rain every day in the following work week (February 19 through 23). Rainfall totals during the first week of the outlook period, through February 21, look most likely to be between 1 and 2 inches, but with some potential for significantly higher amounts, especially in the Potomac Highlands. Temperatures for the first week of the outlook period look to be generally above to much above normal, with highs today (February 15) and Tuesday/Wednesday (February 20-21) expected to be near or above 70 degrees. Temperatures that warm this time of year often promote heavy rainfall. The 8-to-14 day outlook for week two from the Climate Prediction Center favors continued above normal precipitation, and strongly favors continued above normal temperatures. Brief colder snaps can be expected during the two week period, but are not expected to be the prevailing weather condition. HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK... Streamflows are near normal to above normal. Given the expected continued rainfall, these conditions are likely to continue. Recent rains have also improved reservoir levels in the Upper Potomac. Bloomington Lake remains about three feet higher than the early January lows; Savage River Reservoir is up around ten feet since early January. Streamflow, groundwater, and soil moisture should all continue to improve over the next week, given the forecast for rain. NEXT ISSUANCE DATE... The next scheduled issuance of the Drought Statement will be Thursday, February 22nd, 2018. && 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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