Is New Jersey Headed Toward a Drought?
New Jersey has not seen a soaking rain since April 20 and 21 and while the northern part of the state is the driest right now, the entire state could use a steady downpour.
"We're in an extended spell without much rainfall. A drought, no. Abnormally dry, yes and particularly in the north," said David Robinson, New Jersey state climatologist at Rutgers University. "What that means down the road, it's too early to tell. A drought is one of these things that sneaks up on you. It's not like a big rainstorm where you know it's there and with temperatures at or above normal and relatively little humidity, we've got to keep our eyes closely fixed on the rain gauge."
There is nothing to suggest that New Jersey is heading into a dry spell, but the state could use some rainfall.
"Everything is coming down. Groundwater, particularly in the northwest corner of the state, is low. The rivers are starting to flow below average, soil moisture is down. The good news right now is the reservoirs are about where they should be at this time of year which is over 90 percent full," Robinson said. "I look around though and a lot of lawn sprinklers are starting to be used and it's a little early for that, so a timely rainfall would be appreciated."
Looking ahead, there may be a chance of showers this week, but other than that, it is expected to be relatively dry.
"That's how you get into a dry spell. You have opportunities for rain every three, four or five days but you go several sequences with them not really panning out. Then, you turn around and all of sudden, things have become abnormally dry," Robinson said.
While Robinson believes it is too early to worry about a potential drought, he does recommend we just be aware of what is going on atmospherically, especially when it comes to the fire danger and the fact that the planting season is underway and the irrigation season is getting off to an early start.
"All of these are signs that we are abnormally dry," Robinson said. "We just can't lose guard of what's going on."