Monday, April 16, 2012

Severe drought

The vernal pools are indeed drying up and the risk of fire is quite high across much of Connecticut as we enter a severe drought. This time of year is usually marked by, well, "April showers" that bring "May flowers". Instead it was some warm March temperatures that brought the flowers, but we have yet to have much in the way of precipitation dating back all the way to the start of 2012.

Take a look at these maps courtesy of the National Weather Service, first the U.S. Drought Monitor and then the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook:

At least we are forecasted to have some improvement over the next two and a half months, though it has not come yet and does not look to be in store for us in the next week. How about we take a closer look at our region and our state?

As you can see the drought increases as you near the Atlantic coastline for the most part. As of the last assessment 84% of Connecticut has severe drought conditions with the remaining 16% in moderate drought. This will very likely worsen in the next update. Apart from not receiving the normal amount of rain or snow we have had far less snow melt on our soil or north of us than usual, keeping the earth even more dry.

So how dry is it? As of today at Bridgeport's climate station we see the following concerning preciptation amounts (in inches): 
Month to date: 0.31, a -1.84 departure from normal
Since March 1: 1.35, a -4.85 departure from normal
Since January 1: 5.91, a -6.18 departure from normal

And for the Hartford area:
Month to date: 0.18, a -1.72 departure from normal
Since March 1: 1.70, a -3.82 departure from normal
Since January 1: 6.13, a -5.51 departure from normal

That is not good news for plants, amphibians, and possibly many different species birds that are filtering back into the state right now as they find reduced foraging opportunities during a stressful migration or have a more difficult time when nesting seasons begins.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Images courtesy the National Weather Service

No comments:

Post a Comment