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

February 28, 2015 So far in February, precipitation has been 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches below average for many areas. A band from west-central Virginia through central Virginia and then into the central Delmarva Peninsula has had about normal precipitation plus or minus 1/2 inch or so. Temperatures have been very cold ranging from 7 1/2 to 11 degrees below normal making this one of the coldest Februarys on record. Over the past 90 days, precipitation in western Maryland, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, as well as western Virginia has been 1 to over 3 inches below average. The remainder of the area (Delaware, the rest of Maryland, and the rest of Virginia) has been closer to average with an area in the middle Delmarva Peninsula running 1 to 3 inches above.

As for snow, depths of 6 inches or less cover much of the southern portion of the MARFC service area. Far western Maryland, parts of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and far western Virginia have 6 to as much as 10 inches on the ground. The water equivalent in this snow, or the amount of water that will be released when it melts, is 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches with as much as 2 to 2 1/2 in the higher mountains. This amount of snow will have minimal hydrologic significance if it melts in the absence of a significant rain event. However, should this snow melt during a rapid warmup and heavy rain event, then it could add as much as several additional feet to river rises.

Current (February 28) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are below or much below normal in most areas. Flows are around normal on the Delmarva Peninsula and in the vicinity of the Chesapeake Bay. Groundwater levels are averaging near normal but trending above normal in the north but below normal further south.

The weather outlook into the middle of March calls for above normal precipitation for the first half of the period but then below average precipitation for the second half of the period. Temperatures are expected to be below normal. The NWS Climate Prediction Center's 30 day outlook for March calls for near or above 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 for the southern portion of the MARFC service area. Sufficient precipitation coupled with the time of year has offset longer term dry weather. However, there are areas of precipitation deficiencies, especially in Virginia, which will be monitored in upcoming weeks should precipitation remain low. If precipitation remains below normal as winter winds down, then degradation in this outlook is likely.


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Page last modified: October 29, 2014 23:00
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