NJ finally got soaked: What does it mean for the drought?
After months of hot dry weather in New Jersey, we finally got a good soaking on Tuesday, and showers are in the forecast for Wednesday, but does this mean the Garden State’s drought concerns are over?
According to Rutgers University-based state climatologist Dave Robinson, the answer is absolutely not.
He said while the rain has been exceedingly welcome, “we’re running deficits of a half a foot or more, and that goes back to June, early July, an inch or 2 of rain isn’t going to get us out of that hole.”
“We can’t suddenly say we’re done with this drought," he said.
It's a good start
New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow confirms much of the Garden State got a few inches of rain on Tuesday “and that certainly helps to fill up the reservoirs and waters the grass and crops, but some parts of the state are 6 to 8 inches behind over the course of the summer.”
He said every drop of rain helps to replenish water levels that have been dropping for months.
“What we really need to see though is a long-term pattern shift from dry to wet weather, we’ve got another chance of rain coming up early next week.”
Robinson noted the precipitation that fell on Tuesday was the best rainfall we’ve had in Jersey since May, and he agreed with Zarrow that hopefully “it may signal that we’re shifting seasons, we’re getting out of the summer thunderstorm season and more into the all-day rain kind of season.”
He pointed out that having rainfall for much of the day on Tuesday was much better than having teeming rainfall for half an hour.
“We didn’t want all that much at one time because it wouldn’t be all that beneficial and could be dangerous.”
Mandatory water restrictions avoided?
Robinson said the rainfall we got on Tuesday could push off the threat of mandatory water restrictions, at least for a while, because “with this rain, people are going to be less inclined to turn on their sprinklers, thus the demand will be reduced, at least for the next week or two if people are smart.”
Robinson stressed we still need to be concerned about how we use water in the Garden State.
“It’s a very precious commodity, there’s not an infinite source as we learned over this past summer and in droughts in the past.”
He said we should always pay attention to every drop of water we use.
“It just becomes all that more obvious and evident when we get into the dry situation we’ve been in the last couple of months,” he said.
Zarrow agreed that moving forward Jersey residents should not become careless and wastewater.
“It’s important to be aware of the overall (water) condition,” he said. “It’s something we will continue to monitor and talk about.”