A Very Warm 2012 Comes To An End.

January 14, 2013 - Precipitation for December was quite a bit above normal making it the second wettest for Pennsylvania and fourth wettest for New York. While not quite as wet, New Jersey still experienced the 13th wettest December on record. Temperatures in December were quite warm ranking in the top 10 warmest. For calendar year 2012, precipitation was fairly typical overall. However, Pennsylvania and south-central New York were a bit above normal while New Jersey precipitation was a bit below average. Temperatures in calendar year 2012 were the warmest on record for the nation as a whole as well as for New York and New Jersey. Pennsylvania was only slightly cooler with their third warmest on record.

For the first half or so of January (and the new year), precipitation has been quite light with only 1/4 to 2/3 inch having fallen so far. This is less than half of what we should have received to date. Over the past 90 days, precipitation has been near normal in most locations plus or minus an inch or two. However, precipitation in southern New Jersey is 4 to 9 inches above normal.

Current (January 14) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are normal in New Jersey and southeast Pennsylvania but much above normal for the rest of Pennsylvania and south-central New York. This is mainly due to recent snowmelt and rainfall. Groundwater levels are near or above normal.

With very little snowfall so far in January, little was added to the snowpack that began to form from the late December snow events in the northern part of MARFC service area. And, the recent warm temperatures and rainfall caused quite a bit of the snow to melt. As a result, snow water equivalent, or the amount of water that will be released from the snow when it melts, is under an inch where there is snow on the ground but around an inch in the Catskill Region of New York. For now, this snow water equivalent is considered to be hydrologically insignificant for most of the region.

The weather outlook for most of the rest of January calls for, on average, near normal precipitation. Temperatures are expected to be below normal. The Climate Prediction Center's 30 day outlook for January, 2013 calls for near average precipitation along with above normal temperatures. The 90 day outlook for January, 2013 through March, 2013 calls for near average precipitation and temperatures.

The outlook for water resources looks very good. Above normal precipitation from December, recent snowmelt and rainfall, and still some snowpack has left south-central New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey quite moist. Dormant vegetation, low sun angle, and a likely continuation of near average precipitation should ensure that water resources and supplies will remain abundant for the next couple of months.

In summary, the northern portion of the MARFC service area has abundant water resources and water supplies. These water resources are likely to remain stable or increase in the upcoming weeks. With generally near normal precipitation expected, water resources should remain abundant and no water shortages are expected for the next couple of months.