🌞 NJ is abnormally dry — we need plenty of rain
🌞 No drought watch yet but state officials are concerned
🌞 NJ farmers without irrigation are keeping their fingers crossed

Could New Jersey soon be dealing with a drought?

With lower-than-average rainfall totals over the past several weeks, the latest Drought Monitor report finds almost all areas of the Garden State are now abnormally dry.

According to New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson, the state is now at a critical juncture.

He said nobody is pushing the panic button just yet “but if we don’t start getting back to a normal rainfall pattern we’re going to be falling deeper into problems when it comes to our lawns, gardens, our agriculture and ultimately our reservoir levels.”

One Month's Rainfall Expected In One Day
Daniel Berehulak

He said at this point most areas in Jersey are “kind of at the cusp of sliding into drought conditions, the Delaware Valley is worse off but they got the most rain earlier in the week.”

Robinson pointed out that while rainfall totals have been low over the past six weeks “what has been somewhat of a saving grace is how cool it’s been compared to normal, which has kept evaporation rates down which has helped things not dry out.”

A changing pattern?

New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the current situation needs to be monitored carefully but he said the good news is over the past week we’ve had three rounds of thunderstorms.

“We've finally found some typical June weather — on average, it is New Jersey's 3rd wettest and third warmest month of the year,” he said.

Zarrow said that “while there are not any 'drought-buster' rain events on the horizon, I believe this occasionally unsettled weather pattern will help us catch up and green up in no time.”

Abid Katib
Abid Katib

Farmers hoping for rain

Robinson said farms with irrigation systems are OK for now “but areas that lack irrigation, without proper germination, it’s going to be more difficult for the crops to advance as we get into the summer.”

He stressed there is no imminent threat of a drought but it can come on quickly.

“Especially in summer when you’ve got the hot days, certainly we would like to be in better shape at this time of the summer.”

He added it’s important to conserve water whenever possible because “if we don’t start seeing normal rainfall conditions as we get into July and August we might be considering more profound drought conditions at that time.”

The Drought Monitor report shows coastal areas of Central and South Jersey are in the normal range, not abnormally dry, because they had more rain than other areas last month. One section of Salem County is listed as having moderate drought conditions.

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