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Water Resources Outlook - Northern MARFC Area
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Map of the Northern Water Resources Outlook Region

February 21, 2015 February precipitation has been nearly normal, plus or minus 1/2 inch or so, for southern New York, northern-most and eastern-most Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The least precipitation has been in central and south-central Pennsylvania where amounts are 1/2 to over 1 inch below normal. It has been a very cold month so far with temperatures running 9 to over 11 degrees below normal. Over the past 90 days, precipitation for much of southern New York and most of Pennsylvania has been 1 to 2 1/2 inches below average. The Catskill Region of New York, southeast Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey are about normal plus or minus an inch or so. And the rest of New Jersey has had 2 to 4 inches of above normal precipitation.

Snowpack continues to increase with significant differences from north to south. Snow depth amounts of mostly 10 to 24 inches are reported on the ground in southern New York. 6 to 12 inches are on the ground in the northern half of Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. Less than 6 inches is on the ground in the southern half of Pennsylvania and the rest of New Jersey. The water equivalent in this snow, or the amount of water that will be released when it melts, ranges from 2 to 4 inches in southern New York (where the deepest snow is reported). 1 to 3 inches of water equivalent is on the ground in most of Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. The southern third of Pennsylvania along with the rest of New Jersey have under 1 inch of water equivalent. This amount of snow will have minor to moderate hydrologic significance if it melts in the absence of an accompanying rainstorm. However, if accompanied by a significant warm-up and rainfall, melting snow could then have a moderate or greater effect on river rises. In addition to the snow, ice covers many streams and rivers and is likely to continue to increase in the coming days.

Current (February 21) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are running below or much below normal in most areas. Groundwater levels are below or much below normal in southern New York, most of Pennsylvania, and northwest New Jersey. Groundwater levels are near or below normal in central and south-central Pennsylvania. And, flows are mostly above normal in the rest of New Jersey.

The weather outlook through the first week of March calls for near normal precipitation. Temperatures are expected to be below or much below average. The NWS Climate Prediction Center's 30 day outlook for March calls for near average precipitation and below normal temperatures. The 90 day outlook for March through May calls for near average precipitation and temperatures.

The outlook for water resources and water supplies is "good" across southern New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Though some indicators (precipitation deficits, streamflows, and groundwater levels) suggest dry conditions, an increasingly significant snowpack is in these same areas, which is likely to offset any short term dryness when the snow eventually melts. However, if below average precipitation continues as winter begins to wind down, then this outlook will likely be downgraded in the coming weeks.


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Page last modified: October 29, 2014 10:58 PM
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