January 2, 2014 - December precipitation was near average, plus or minus a half inch or so, for southern New York, most of Pennsylvania, and most of the northern half of New Jersey. Southernmost Pennsylvania and much of the southern half of New Jersey was 1/2 to 2 inches above average. Temperatures in December were generally near normal or a degree or two above normal. Storminess continues to slowly eat away at long term dry conditions. Over the past 90 days, the northern half of New Jersey, northeastern and east-central Pennsylvania, and the Catskill Region of New York are 2 to 4 1/2 inches below average. South-central Pennsylvania amounts are 3 to 6 inches above. For the rest of the northern portion of the MARFC service area, precipitation is near normal. For calendar year 2013, much of central and east-central Pennsylvania was 6 to 11 inches below normal for precipitation. This represents the most significant and widespread long term dry area. Elsewhere, amounts were generally within a few inches of normal.

As of January 2, snow has been making a slow comeback after the December pre-holiday heatwave melted it. On average, 4 to 8 inches of snow covers southern New York with 1 to 4 inches covering northern Pennsylvania. Little or no snow is on the ground elsewhere. The water equivalent in this snow, or the amount of water that will be released when the snow melts, is 1/4 to 3/4 inch is not considered to be hydrologically significant. As we will see in the outlook below, snow is expected to increase in coverage, depth, and water equivalent in the near term.

Current (January 2) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are running near or above normal. Though a few locations in northern New Jersey are still below normal, these levels are essentially no longer showing signs of dry conditions from this past autumn. Groundwater levels are around or above normal. These levels, like streamflow, are no longer showing signs of dry conditions.

The U.S. Drought Monitor for December 31 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 and an improvement in this designation is likely in the near future. 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 middle of January calls for near or below average precipitation. Temperatures are expected to be below or much below normal, but then moderate to around normal by mid-month. This outlook suggests that much of the precipitation that falls is likely to be snow or add to the existing water equivalent. 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.

Long term below average precipitation continues to decrease and continued precipitation will likely continue to chip away at deficits and improve 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.

End.