Vast portions of the United States are in an extreme to exceptional drought. States such as Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa are all seeing terrible drought conditions with little relief in sight. Even in the D.C. area, counties such as Calvert and St. Mary's in Southern Maryland are in a severe drought as well as the majority of the Eastern Shore.
- Current Drought Monitor for the U.S.
Check out some of the numbers across the D.C. metro as far as precipitation is concerned. Reagan National and BWI Thurgood Marshall are down over 8 inches of precipitation for the year, which Dulles is down over 7 inches. Compare that with the Midwest, and many of those numbers are comparable as far as deficits, but the difference is the Midwest has seen little rain in the past few months, with many locations down 5, 6 and 7 inches just since June 1st. The D.C. area is only down around 2 inches since June 1st.
Is there any relief in sight? It appears the D.C. Metro will have it's chances for rain as we continue to push into August. Just this week there will be the typical chance for afternoon storms, then Friday an area of low pressure will push through creating an even better chance for soaking rains. Storms look possible for the Midwest, but nothing substantial enough to make a big difference. Looking ahead, more of the same seems to be expected.
- 5-Day Precipitation Forecast Outlook from HPC
A great site was passed along to us from our old co-worker Joe Witte which shows the drought conditions in easy to read pie charts or time series. You can break it down by state or show conditions for the contiguous United States. Here is the pie chart for Maryland below. It shows just how much of the state is in moderate to severe drought conditions (tan and orange colors) which sits right around 50%. The majority of that is on the Eastern Shore.
- Maryland Drought Pie Chart
Compare that with the pie chart fo the United States and you can see that our region isn't doing as poorly as other parts of the country. Over 20% of the country is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought conditions (red and dark red) while only 20% of the country is not experiencing any drought.
- United States Drought Pie Chart
Unfortunately, the outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for the next couple of months is still dry for the midsection of the country. Some good news for our area is that we will see equal chances, which means no extremes are expected at this time.