February 3, 2013 - January was a wet month for the southern portion of the MARFC service area with amounts 1 to 3 inches above normal for central Maryland, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and much of Virginia. Elsewhere, precipitation was near normal. Despite a period of cold weather late in the month, temperatures in January were 3 to 5 degrees above normal. Over the past 90 days dating back to early November, precipitation has been generally near normal plus or minus an inch or two. There have been scattered areas of precipitation running 1 to 3 inches below normal, especially in the Delmarva Peninsula.

Current (February 3) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are generally normal in the Delmarva Peninsula but above to much above normal elsewhere. Groundwater levels are generally near or above normal.

The US Drought Monitor, as of January 29, indicates moderate drought conditions in west-central Virginia with abnormally dry conditions surrounding this area. Recent rainfall is likely to reduce this drought coverage soon. The state of Virginia has posted a drought watch for the Appomattox River Basin and the upper and middle James River region. Drought declarations, if any, are declared by individual states.

A couple of light snow events has left 1 to 4 (along with isolated areas of up to 8) inches of snow on the ground mainly in the western mountains of the southern portion of the MARFC service area. Snow water equivalent, or the amount of water that will be released from the snow when it melts, is under 1/2 inch where there is snow on the ground. This snow water equivalent is hydrologically insignificant.

The weather outlook through the middle of February calls for below normal precipitation in the near term but then above normal precipitation afterwards. Below average temperatures are expected early in the period but then temperatures are expected to be above normal. The Climate Prediction Center's 30 day outlook for February as well as the 90 day outlook for February through April calls for near average precipitation and temperatures.

The outlook for water resources for the next several weeks looks good to very good. Significant rainfall recently has helped to alleviate much of the dry conditions in central Virginia. With near or above average precipitation expected, continued improvement is also expected. However, a return to dry weather could reverse the trend of improvement in the most vulnerable areas such as central Virginia and even parts of the Delmarva Peninsula. For now, this appears unlikely. Water supplies and resources are expected to remain sufficient to abundant for the next several weeks.

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 increase in the upcoming weeks. With near or above normal precipitation expected, water resources should remain sufficient or abundant and no water shortages are expected at least for the next several weeks. Improvement has occurred in Virginia and should continue with normal or above normal precipitation.

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