After dry, hot September, NJ on the edge of a flash drought
Scattered showers are expected across New Jersey on Thursday. But the rain we get over the next day or so will not amount to much, and the lack of precipitation since the end of summer remains a concern.
According to New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson, after a very wet spring we have gone through an extended dry spell, and now we’re on the edge of what is known as a flash drought scenario.
“The late crops are going to be stressed. Our lawns, our gardens, you see trees turning earlier with the lack of water," he said.
So what exactly is a flash drought?
“That’s simply a very quick deficit, a significant deficit of rainfall where you can get abnormally dry within just two, four, six, eight weeks time.”
He said the problem is simple: It has hardly rained at all over the last month.
“It’s going to come in as the sixth driest September in 125 years of records. And on top of that it’s been warm," he said.
Robinson said after all the numbers are crunched, September will go down as the 9th or 10 warmest in recorded state history.
“It’s insult to injury. First you’re dry, and then it gets warm which helps things dry out even further. This is the deepest hole we’ve been in, in terms of rainfall, in quite some time.”
He stressed we did have an abnormally wet spring, so as Jersey enters into a flash drought situation we are in relatively good shape.
Robinson said reservoirs and groundwater supplies are still in what is considered to be the normal range but “if this pattern continues to hold, and we see our reservoirs continuing to decline, that’s when we’ll have some growing concerns.”
He also pointed out having a dry period now is not as serious as it would be in May or June.
“Because as we get into the fall, it gets cooler, so we evaporate less moisture. Our use of water declines as we’re not outside watering lawns and gardens.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com