December 12, 2013 - So far in December, the southern half of Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey have picked up 1 to 2 1/2 inches of precipitation. Much of this has been snow and/or ice, so these amounts represent the rain and water equivalent of the snow and ice that has fallen. Southern New York and the northern half of Pennsylvania have received 1/2 to 1 inch. Recent storminess has been beneficial, but long term dry conditions continue. Over the past 90 days, the northern half of New Jersey along with northeastern and eastern Pennsylvania are 3 to 6 inches below average. South-central Pennsylvania amounts are 1 to 4 1/2 inches above. For the rest of the northern portion of the MARFC service area, precipitation is 1 to 3 inches below. Calendar year 2013 is winding down. To date, much of central and east-central Pennsylvania is 7 to nearly 12 inches below normal for precipitation. This represents the most significant and widespread long term dry area. Elsewhere, amounts are generally within a few inches of normal.

The snow season is now well underway. As of December 12, 1 to 4 inches of snow is on the ground in much of southern New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. There are pockets with little or no snow on the ground. The water equivalent in this snow, or the amount of water that will be released when the snow melts, is mostly under 3/4 inch and is not considered to be hydrologically significant.

Current (December 12) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are running near or below normal in Pennsylvania along Interstate 80 and in the northern half of New Jersey. This is an improvement over the past week or two. Elsewhere, flows are near normal. Groundwater levels are below normal in the northeast quarter 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 December 10 indicates that the northern 1/4 of New Jersey as well as the Pocono Mountain counties in Pennsylvania are in "Moderate Drought" status. This area is seeing a slow improvement in its' dry conditions. 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.

The weather outlook for the next couple of weeks calls for near or above average precipitation. Temperatures are expected to begin the period below normal but then rebound back to near or above normal by late 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.

Recent storminess has helped to alleviate dry conditions. Continued long term below or much below average precipitation continues in many areas but this recent precipitation is chipping away at deficits and improving water resources. The outlook for water resources is good across all of southern New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Water resources and supplies are sufficient or abundant.