More flood watches for NJ as drought conditions continue
Last weekend it was raining so hard several flood advisories were posted across the state as a result of significant snow and rain that fell a week earlier.
Nevertheless, drought warnings and watches remain in effect for most of the Garden State.
There are still drought warnings in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties, and drought watches remain in effect in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties.
Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, acknowledges the current trend is very positive.
“We’re continuing to see our indicators trend upward because we’ve been getting a steady soaking rain that comes in nice intervals,” he said.
“Overall, throughout our drought regions across the state, the indicators are starting to improve. They’re showing the benefits of the rainfall we’ve gotten.”
He noted all major reservoirs in Jersey are approaching full capacity.
“That’s what we like to see going into this time of year, when the spring and summer demand begin to increase,” he said.
So why hasn’t the drought warning been lifted?
“We’re being conservative and we’re evaluating the indicators as we go along through the season,” said Hajna.
“It’s one thing for the reservoirs to be full but we also need to make sure that the inputs that are going to continue to maintain the reservoirs are in good condition, so that means things like the stream water flow.”
Thursday's rainfall totals will be factored into recent trends, and reservoir levels next week will be re-checked along with other indicators.
Hajna said soon “if the situation warrants it, we could lift the drought warning and watch, but we really have to wait for the data to come in.”
Even when the drought warnings and watches are lifted, Hajna says it’s still important for people to conserve, and use water wisely.
He pointed out it was only five months ago that reservoirs had gotten down to about half of their capacity.
"We need people to always be mindful of their water use, especially in parts of the state that use reservoirs.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.