April 4, 2013 - March ended drier than usual for most and cooler than normal for all. Precipitation was 1 to nearly 2 inches below average, though some areas along the southeast coast of New Jersey were close to average. After record warmth in March, 2012, the March that just ended was 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 degrees below normal... quite a difference from last year. Year to date precipitation has been 2 to 3 1/2 inches below average for most areas, though amounts are more like an inch or two below normal in southern-most Pennsylvania and the southern half of New Jersey. Southern coastal areas of New Jersey are closer to normal.

Current (April 4) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are near normal in central Pennsylvania and the southern half of New Jersey. Flows are below to much below normal in the rest of Pennsylvania, the northern half of New Jersey, and in south-central New York. Groundwater levels are near normal in most locations with some below normal levels in south-central New York and the northern half of Pennsylvania.

Snowcover continues to melt and/or evaporate and covers a small part of the northern portion of the MARFC service area. Snow is still on the ground in the highest elevations of Pennsylvania and south-central New York but reports indicate that amounts are under 6 inches. Snow water equivalent, or the amount of water that will be released from the snow when it melts, is mostly under 1/2 inch and is hydrologically insignificant.

The weather outlook through mid-April calls for below average precipitation early in the period but then above normal precipitation. Temperatures are expected to be near normal early in the period but moderate to above normal levels. The Climate Prediction Center's 30 day outlook for April and the 90 day outlook for April through June calls for near average precipitation and above average temperatures.

The outlook for water resources is fair to good. There have been occasional periods of dry weather since the beginning of the year that have only been offset by brief periods of about "normal" precipitation. Also, the snowmelt season has been minimal due to a lack of a deep snowpack this season. As a result, south-central New York along with much of Pennsylvania north of the Turnpike are now showing signs of growing dryness and this is where the water resources outlook is fair. Though somewhat delayed, we are fast approaching the green-up season and the increase in water that goes along with it. In the absence of more frequent precipitation, water resources are likely to become stressed in the upcoming weeks and months. Precipitation has been a bit more abundant in southern Pennsylvania and New Jersey where the outlook is good as we move deeper into spring. The bottom line is that water resources and supplies will remain sufficient to abundant for the next several weeks, but an increase in precipitation is needed to avoid further deterioration in water resource conditions. And, yes, there are signs (though still no certainty) of a return to significant precipitation in the upcoming couple of weeks.

In summary, the northern portion of the MARFC service area has sufficient to abundant water resources and water supplies. These water resources and supplies are likely to maintain current levels or increase slightly in the coming weeks and remain abundant with no water shortages expected.