November 29, 2012 - November has been quite dry with most places in the southern portion of the MARFC service area receiving only between 1/2 and 1 1/4 inches of precipitation. Over the past 90 days, precipitation has been 3 to 5 inches below average in central Virginia. Precipitation has been 4 to 7 inches above normal in northeast Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula. Elsewhere, precipitation has been near average plus or minus 1 to 3 inches. Year to date precipitation for 2012 has been fairly typical overall. The driest area has been in central Virginia, especially in the Appomattox River Basin, where precipitation has been 6 to 12 inches below normal. The wettest areas have been in the Tidewater Region of southeast Virginia as well as parts of the Virginia section of the Delmarva Peninsula where amounts have been 6 to 12 inches above average.

Current (November 29) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are around normal except in the southern two thirds of Virginia where flows are below to much below normal. Groundwater levels are generally near normal except in southwest Virginia where groundwater levels are now below normal. The drop in flows and groundwater levels reflect the lack of precipitation in November.

The US Drought Monitor, as of November 27, indicates moderate drought conditions in the Appomattox River Basin and surrounding areas of the James River Basin in Virginia. Abnormally dry conditions surround this area. Moderate drought has expanded in this region over the past week, the result of continued dry weather. The state of Virginia has posted a drought watch for the Appomattox River Basin. Drought declarations, if any, are declared by individual states.

The weather outlook for the next couple of weeks calls for little or no precipitation for the next several days but then a return to near normal precipitation. Temperatures should be near or above normal. The Climate Prediction Center's 30 day outlook for December as well as the 90 day outlook for December, 2012 through February, 2013 calls for near average precipitation and temperatures.

The outlook for water resources for the next several weeks now looks fair to poor in the south and good to very good elsewhere. Evapo-transpiration has become fairly minimal likely ensuring that sufficient to abundant water resources, where they currently exist, will continue for the next several weeks. However, the extended period of dry weather (below or much below average precipitation) that we have been experiencing has begun to reverse this trend. Unless near or even above normal precipitation returns, water resources and supplies will begin to increasingly suffer. Nevertheless, for now, water supplies and resources are expected to remain sufficient to abundant at least into early 2013. For now, indications point to a slow worsening and spreading of drought conditions in central and southern Virginia.

In summary, the southern portion of the MARFC service area has sufficient to abundant water resources and water supplies. These water resources are likely to remain stable in the upcoming weeks. With near normal precipitation expected in the longer term, water resources should remain sufficient or abundant and no water shortages are expected at least through the early parts of 2013. Areas of central and southern Virginia, however, run the risk of decreasing water resources and supplies, despite the time of year, unless more significant precipitation returns soon.