New Jersey Faces ‘Moderate Drought’ Conditions
Despite heavy rain in spots Thursday, New Jersey this spring has seen a drying trend that, combined with warm temperatures, has put us on drought's doorstep.
State Climatologist Dave Robinson of Rutgers University says the latest drought monitor issued Thursday morning puts North Jersey in the "D-1," or moderate drought category.
"The combination of the lack of rainfall and the warmth has really depleted the water supplies," Robinson said.
Robinson said most of New Jersey can be characterized as abnormally dry, after very little rainfall in May and very warm temperatures. He said the state is on track for one of the warmest and driest Mays on record.
"We've seen some impact on agriculture, as well as people's lawns and gardens," Robinson said.
According to the state climatologist, ground moisture and soil moisture is very low and streams are flowing at exceedingly low levels.
"Conditions have worsened over the last several weeks across the state," he said.
This May could go in the books as one of the driest and warmest on record. Robinson says water conservation is also a rapidly-evolving concern.
"It is always right to conserve water, but particularly people should be aware of it right now," Robinson said.
According to WPG Meteorologist Dan Zarrow, we are still a long way away from an extreme drought situation, but it could happen if this summer is drier than normal. As of now, he considers this a short-term drought.
"There are obvious effects such as brown lawns and low stream flow, but there's no significant longterm danger yet, as long as we get some rain soon," Zarrow said.
The last "extreme drought" in New Jersey occurred in August of 2002, according to Zarrow.