NJ drought watch: Even drenching Joaquin rains weren’t enough
There's good and bad news about last week's flooding rains.
The good news: The rain helped with our drought threat. The bad news: Not enough.
Dave Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers, saod there is still a drought watch in a swath of the state that covers parts of 10 counties in central and northeast New Jersey.
To break it down, he said there definitely have been some improvements since late September, when the drought watch was issued over a 12-county area.
"It began with a frontal passage on Sept. 30. That's a positive of an inch or an inch and a half of rain around the state," Robinson said.
And then two days later, last Friday, we had several inches of rain throughout the state as Hurricane Joaquin turned away from the east coast.
So why does the drought persist?
According to Robinson, "it just so happened that the least amount of rain — and don't get me wrong, it was a good amount of rain, two to three inches — fell in the areas that were the driest going into this last rainy spell, those being northeastern, central and the northern coastal portion of New Jersey."
He said other parts of the state got anywhere between 3 and 6 inches of rain, and that really reduced drought concerns in those areas.
But Robinson said it is prudent for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to still have its drought watch over the areas where it started, back on Sept. 23. And the National Drought Monitor also still considers that area of the state in a moderate drought condition.
"We simply need more than just two to three inches of rain to come out of deficits that over the last 90 days are upwards of 6 to 9 inches," Robinson said.
Robinson also cautions that as forcasters look ahead, we are not seeing a lot of short-term precipitation.
"The forecast does not hold much rain in it for the next several weeks. It is going to be dry again," Robinson said. "So sometimes you have to sit back and wait awhile to see if the rains are going to become consistently more plentiful."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5