Drought & Rainfall Update

The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor came out last week and as expected, most of CT continues with a “moderate drought.” The only exceptions are the far northwestern and far southwestern corners of the state. It’s pretty interesting that Central Park, New York, which is very close to Lower Fairfield County completely erased its 2013 rainfall deficit after last week’s heavy rain…and SW Connecticut is benefitting from the higher rain amounts too. But as we work up toward Bridgeport and New Haven, lower rainfall totals means drought conditions.

You can see on the scale that the yellow shading is “abnormally dry,” while the orange shading is the “moderate” drought. Thankfully, we are not yet seeing the “severe” or “extreme” levels that were gripping the area during the last drought. Also good news is that a couple weeks ago we couldn’t seem to squeeze a drop out of the sky, but things have gotten much better with more frequent rain. Ironically, when we have the heavy downpours that lead to flooding, that type of rain is not as beneficial as a slow, steady rainfall. So lighter rain spread out over twelve hours is always better for a drought here in Connecticut. Unfortunately, a lot of our rain has been (and will continue to be) the heavier showers. All rain is good, but an all-day soaker or two will kill the drought pretty quickly.

As far as exact numbers…our two official recording stations are Bridgeport (shoreline) and Bradley Airport (inland). Bridgeport has seen 2.76″ of rain this month which is about a half an inch below average (which we might make up if we see some strong storms on Wednesday). For the year so far, we have seen 13.41″ which is about 4″ below average. This is still a significant gap, but much better than the trend we were on a few months back; even a few weeks back.

Bradley Airport is a different story…and an encouraging one. May has had 5.33″ of rain. Normally we should only have 3.71″. But, there is still a 2013 deficit…so far this year BDL has 15.11″ versus a normal year which should have 17.17″ by this point. But we are much better than the first five months of 2012 when we only had about 12″ of rain.

So…the drought is real and needs to be taken seriously, but there is plenty of reason to be optimistic versus the last drought where very early on it seems like it was about to spiral out of control…which it did.

The next reading has been made and the weekly results will be published on Thursday. We are hoping to see a lot more yellow and white on the map and a lot less orange.

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