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Drought Threat Drops in NJ [AUDIO]

Six weeks ago Jersey was dry as a bone.  The fire danger level was extreme, and state officials were ready to institute water restrictions because hardly any rain had fallen for months.  Then on April 22nd, a Nor’easter pounded the Garden state, the weather patterns changed, and significant rain has been falling ever since.  Thanks to all these factors, the threat of a drought has dropped. 

Flickr User Tom Grundy Photo

Jersey State Climatologist Dave Robinson says “we had average rainfall in the month of May – very timely rain as well – we haven’t gone a week without some rain…we had been a season of worry up until that point…but now we’re in good shape, and the only area where things have remained on the dry side is the extreme southern portion of the state – where less than half of average rain fell down in portions of Cape May County in the last month.”

He said, “Central and North Jersey are fine.  The rains are falling over the reservoirs.  They’ve been timely, so people haven’t been using a lot of water on their lawns – we’re in so much better shape than we were in mid April.”

Robinson points out the major hydrologic indicators are now all positive – rainfall, groundwater levels and stream flows – but “you always don’t look too far down the road- later summer could be a different story…it’s summer so we need to always be on guard – it’s the persistent warmth – we’re now the warmest start of the year on record – 16 consecutive months of above-average temperatures… so the concern is if the summer maintains this warmer than average pattern, it dries things out faster than average.”

For that reason he suggests “prudent use of water as always – but no pending concerns about drought -and any impact on the water supply… the first few days of June have been cooler than normal, with a fair amount of rain, so we’re getting off to an unusually cool start, compared to what we’ve seen in recent months – and over more than the past year.”

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