WSAZ - Blogs - Brandon Butcher

Checking our drought prospects...

It's no secret that many of us have simply been without rain for a while.

It is Friday (cheer) ... All your outdoor plans look to be a go. Unless you're a flower who's set their sights on growing or 'not dying'... It's certainly been a challenge this year, whereas last year the weather was almost the exact opposite. Consider the following numbers:

City Rainfall to date (month) Departure from normal
Rainfall to date (year)
Departure from normal
Last Year's Rain to date
Charleston 1.44" -0.60" 19.94" -2.89" 23.43"
Huntington 0.34" -1.60" 14.00" -6.02" 30.71"
Parkersburg 2.00" 0.06" 20.03" 1.10" 26.67"
Jackson 0.40" -1.83" 22.64" -2.78" 29.78"
Cincinnati 1.16" -0.85" 18.05" -2.55" 37.00"
Columbus 0.66" -1.24" 17.19" -0.29" 25.13"

There's quite a diverse experience going on in our area, whose surface is only cracked when comparing Parkersburg to Huntington (as you know, two areas that are NOT all that far away from one another). Towns closer to Parkersburg have been flooded on numerous occasions, hence the surplus (but it's not fun to see 'only' flooding rains with nothing in between events). Likewise, the southern WV/KY mountains have seen more than their fair share of rain.

Here's the current and projected drought assessments from a conglomerate of government forecasting and environmental agencies:

Current Drought Status Seasonal Drought Outlook

You can click on either image for a larger version :-)

So, it would seem that the national folks are more concerned about the desert southwest and southern Rockies (where all those fires have been burning). On a local scale though, being more than a month below normal for rainfall, like in Huntington, is a big deal. Of particular concern would be all the short-term plants out there (like the annuals you find yourself constantly watering).

If anyone is wondering how much rainfall we'll need to get to drop the drought threat to a more manageable level, here's a map for you:

Additional Rainfall Needed

This is done on a regional basis, with several different regions being represented within WSAZ's wide coverage area. Adjust to suit your present situation (for example, on one side of the Big Sandy river (KY) we see 3-6" needed, while on the WV side we don't need any according to the map. Obviously you know where I'd put the Huntington area at ;-)

It's interesting to me that so far the National groups do not have our area in concern for drought just yet. It would be a heartening thing too-- but I'm a bit suspicious because our weather pattern recently has only featured sporadic convection, and it only takes a few misses to end up going a week or more without rainfall. That's what has happened a few different times in the River Cities area, to go along with the doughnut-hole for snowfall we experienced this winter.

....And don't go expecting much rain anytime soon either. We're locked into a rather stubborn pattern now that under any other circumstances would be more appreciated. We should eventually start to see the afternoon pop-ups come in to help out, but those are more miss than hit.

Regional Radar/Satellite with Warnings Tracking

Accuweather Radar

From the Storm Prediction Center (below): Click For a Larger Image

Activity Overview Storm Outlook Watches Potential Watches Storm Reports
Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active Warnings
Current Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active NWS Warnings
Click For Larger Click For Interactive Radar Click For Larger Click For Larger

Have a great day everyone!

-B

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