Monday, July 23, 2012

Drought or not?

I mentioned how much of a hot summer (and period of years) we have been having back in this post. I will talk about temperature in my next post, but I wanted to focus first on something we have been hearing about even in the mainstream media here in Connecticut - drought conditions.

Most of the reason it has made national news is because the U.S. is facing one of the worst natural disasters of all-time. A staggering 1,016 counties in 26 states have been declared natural disaster areas by the USDA. There has been very little rainfall across broad swaths of the country during these hot spring and summer seasons. So how about Connecticut? There have been many anecdotal reports of "this stream has never run dry" by those who frequent the woods and "my crops are dying for water" from local farmers. However, we are actually in excellent shape compared to the rest of the country.

These graphics, courtesy of the U.S. drought monitor, show Connecticut with only minimal "very dry" conditions across about 63.5% of the state while the remaining approximately 36.5% of our lands along the coast are normal.

This was valid as of July 17, meaning the rain we received last week across the state did not even factor into this. We actually had a lot of the wet stuff with multiple days featuring showers and thunderstorms dumping well over an inch in many areas. I would expect Connecticut to be entirely normal next week. When we venture back to the U.S. as a whole, things get a lot uglier.

The sheer size of the disaster ranks it high on the list in our history. Later this week, I'll address some of the reason behind our precipitation and drought levels being near normal yet apparent "drought" conditions persisting in some parts of Connecticut.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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