December 18, 2013 - So far in December, southern New York and the northern half of Pennsylvania have had 1 to 2 inches of precipitation, the southern half of Pennsylvania has had 2 to 3 inches, and New Jersey has picked up 2 to 4 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. Recent storminess has been beneficial, but long term dry conditions continue. Over the past 90 days, the northern half of New Jersey, northeastern and eastern Pennsylvania, and the Catskill Region of New York 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 or 2 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.

As of December 18, snow cover continues to increase. 5 to 14 inches of snow is on the ground in much of southern New York. 4 to 11 inches cover much of Pennsylvania except the southernmost and southeasternmost sections. For New Jersey, 3 to 8 covers much of the northern half of the state with little or none in the south. The water equivalent in this snow, or the amount of water that will be released when the snow melts, is 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches. This recent increase in snowpack suggests that if warm temperatures were to accompany heavy rain, then snowmelt could add to and aggravate stream and river rises.

Current (December 18) 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 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 through the end of the month and year calls for near or above average precipitation. Temperatures are expected to begin the period above normal but then fall back to near or below normal by late in the period. This outlook suggests that there is an increasing likelihood for rain and melting snow early in the period which would likely lead to stream and river rises. 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. Furthermore, indications point to the likelihood for rain and melting snow to contribute to water resources and supplies early in the period. 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.

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