December 2, 2013 - Thanks to a late November storm, precipitation for the month ended near to below average... instead of much below. Near average precipitation fell in southern New York, northern Pennsylvania, and in central and northeast New Jersey. Elsewhere in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, precipitation was around an inch below average. Temperatures in November were 2 to 4 degrees below normal. Of the past 4 months, 3 have now had below normal temperatures (October was above) and November was the most below normal. Overall, long term dry conditions continue. Over the past 90 days, the northern half of New Jersey and east-central Pennsylvania are 5 to over 7 inches below average. South-central Pennsylvania amounts are near to an inch or so above. For the rest of the northern portion of the MARFC service area, precipitation is 1 to 5 inches below. Year to date, much of central and east-central Pennsylvania is 7 to nearly 12 inches below normal for precipitation. This represents the most significant long term dry area. Elsewhere, amounts are within a few inches of normal.

The snow season has begun. As of December 2, up to 4 inches of snow is on the ground in southern New York as well as northern and central Pennsylvania. The water equivalent in this snow, or the amount of water that will be released when the snow melts, is mostly under one inch and is not considered to be hydrologically significant.

Current (December 2) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are running below or much below normal in Pennsylvania along Interstate 80 and in the northern half of New Jersey. Elsewhere, flows have rebounded and are near normal. Groundwater levels have rebounded a bit and are below normal in the northeast quarter of Pennsylvania and east-central Pennsylvania, the Catskill Region of New York, and northern-most New Jersey. Elsewhere, groundwater is around or above normal.

The U.S. Drought Monitor for November 26 indicates that the northern 1/4 of New Jersey as well as the Pocono Mountain counties in Pennsylvania are in "Moderate Drought" status. A "Moderate Drought" means that some damage to crops and pastures will occur. This, of course, is not a concern this time of year. "Moderate Drought" also means that fire risk is high; streams, reservoirs, or wells are low; and some water shortages may be developing or are imminent. These are the likely concerns if precipitation remains below average.

The weather outlook into the middle of December calls for near or above average precipitation in south-central New York. Above, (or possibly much above) normal precipitation is expected elsewhere. Temperatures are expected to begin the period above normal but then fall back to below normal for much of the period. This suggests that the snow currently on the ground will likely melt but more snow could fall later in the period. The NWS Climate Prediction Center's 30-day outlook for December as well as the 90 day outlook for December, 2013 through February, 2014 calls for near average precipitation and temperatures.

A soaking, late November rainfall (and snow and ice further north and west) has helped to alleviate dry conditions. Continued long term below or much below average precipitation continues to slowly affect water resources. But, recent precipitation along with the anticipation of additional (potentially significant) precipitation has led to an improvement in the outlook for water resources. The outlook is now good across all of southern New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. An extended period of dry weather has settled over the Mid-Atlantic, but indications suggest an easing of this lack of precipitation. Water resources and supplies are sufficient and still abundant in some places.