December 23, 2013 - So far in December, much of the northern half of the MARFC service area has had 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches of precipitation. Portions of southernmost Pennsylvania and much of the southern half of New Jersey have had 2 1/2 to 4 inches. Since some of this has been snow and/or ice, these amounts represent the rain and water equivalent of the snow and ice that has fallen. Recent storminess continues to be 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 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 almost over. To date, much of central and east-central Pennsylvania is 6 to 11 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.

A recent storm brought rain and very warm temperatures and dewpoints to the Mid-Atlantic melting most of the snow. As of December 23, little snow remains with patchy amounts left in the higher mountain regions. The water equivalent in this snow, or the amount of water that will be released when the snow melts, is minimal and is not hydrologically significant.

Current (December 23) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are running near normal in New Jersey and above or much above normal in southern New York and in Pennsylvania. These levels are high largely due to recent rain and melting snow and will be dropping over the next several days. Groundwater levels are below normal in the northeast quarter and east-central Pennsylvania. Elsewhere, groundwater is around or above normal.

The U.S. Drought Monitor for December 17 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 into early January calls for near or below average precipitation. Temperatures are expected to be below normal. This outlook suggests that after a fairly wet period, we are entering a dry period with major storminess unlikely in the near term. The NWS Climate Prediction Center's 30-day outlook for January, 2014 as well as the 90 day outlook for January, 2014 through March, 2014 calls for near average precipitation and temperatures.

Recent storminess has helped to alleviate dry conditions bringing rain and melting the snow. Continued long term 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.