NOAA FORECASTERS SEE HOPE IN LATEST DROUGHT OUTLOOK
November 16, 2001 For dry states on the East Coast, there is some hope over the horizon. A stormier pattern is shaping up and should bring overdue rain from Georgia to Maine by the end of the month, forecasters at NOAA's National Weather Service said Friday. In its monthly drought outlook for the nation, forecasters said they will monitor the changing weather patterns for clues to whether the break in the dry spell is temporary, or one that lasts a while.
"The key word for this forecast is `relief'," said Doug Le Comte, a scientist at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "The forecast provides some hope that this new [storm] pattern will bring both short and long-term relief across the eastern half of the country."
If the outlook holds promise for the East, then the heavy rains this week in the drought-plagued Pacific Northwest and Texas have been nothing short of relief. The rains have eased the potential for wildfires across Washington and Oregon, and in Texas, this week's deluge has chipped away at water deficits.
Good News, Bad News
Drought conditions should improve this winter in Texas and throughout the southern Plains. In the West, especially the Pacific Northwest, the outlook doesn't call for a repeat of last winter's dearth of snow and rain, Le Comte said.
However, the news isn't so good from central and southern Georgia to southeastern Virginia. "The odds favor the drought to linger," Le Comte said, adding periodic storms may bring temporary improvement in the coming months.
Reasons and Impacts of the
Washington, D.C., recorded its driest September-October period since 1967. Connecticut and New Jersey experienced their third driest October. It was the fourth driest October for Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Virginia.
"Beginning in August,
the current dry spell has brought less than a quarter of the
precipitation we would normally expect in parts of the Northeast,"
said Peter Gabrielson, deputy regional hydrologist at the National Weather Service
Eastern Region headquarters. He also said in Maine, shallow
wells are running dry and New York City reservoirs stand at only
33 percent capacity.
"The result was drought, or near-drought conditions that grew worse by the day," Le Comte said.
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