It’s raining, it’s snowing … but Jersey’s drought continues
Many parts of New Jersey got some snow Thursday night and we have had multiple rain events over the past few weeks, but reservoir levels are still below normal, and 14 counties are still under a drought warning while four others remain under a drought watch.
According to Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, reservoir levels are rising a little in some parts of the state but serious concerns remain.
“Some of the systems are showing an increase in the trend, and others showed a bump upwards and then are kind of trending downwards again. It’s really a mixed bag,” he said.
“Even though we’re seeing damp and dreary weather and some good soaking rainfall — that’s what we need — we still are not out of the woods yet.”
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report for New Jersey shows the top third of the Garden State is still classified as being in a severe drought condition. Central Jersey is described as having moderate drought conditions. And South Jersey is rated abnormally dry, the same as last week.
“The only precipitation trend we’re seeing is a leaning toward normality, which isn’t all bad. But we could use a couple of months of above-average precipitation between now and the spring,” said New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson.
“The good news is this past week we’ve had an inch or more of precipitation over a lot of the state, and that includes rainfall and melted snow, but there are a bunch of mixed indicators out there. Some are going up and some are going down if you look back over the last 30, 60, 90 days.”
Robinson described the current situation as “a real seesaw pattern, in precipitation and temperature, as well.”
He said if this pattern of near normal precipitation continues, the abnormally dry classification for South Jersey might soon be lifted, but Central and North Jersey will probably stay the same.
“It’s very difficult sometimes to tell when you’re going into a drought situation and it’s just as difficult in many cases to know when you’re coming out of it, particularly if you come out of it in a very slow, methodical fashion rather than a deluge of one, two or three major storms.”
Contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.