February 25, 2013 - February to date has ranged from very dry in the west to fairly wet in the east. Precipitation amounts of about 1/2 inch or less have been reported in western Maryland, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and western Virginia. Meanwhile, 2 to 3 1/2 inches has fallen in the central and southern Delmarva Peninsula and Tidewater Region of Virginia. In between, an inch or two has fallen. Calendar year 2013 has been quite wet in central and southern Virginia where precipitation has been 1 to 2 1/2 inches above normal. Elsewhere, precipitation has been about normal plus or minus up to an inch and a half. Recent dryness in February has been reversing this trend. Over the past 90 days, precipitation has been generally near normal plus or minus an inch or so.

Current (February 25) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are normal or below normal in Maryland and Delaware. Flows are below or much below normal in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and in Virginia. Groundwater levels are generally near normal.

The US Drought Monitor, as of February 19, indicates that abnormally dry conditions exist in west-central Virginia. A drought watch issued by the state of Virginia is in effect for the upper James River region. Drought declarations, if any, are declared by individual states.

Minimal snow amounts of up to a few inches are on the ground at the highest elevations of far western Maryland. Little or none is on the ground elsewhere. Snow water equivalent, or the amount of water that will be released from the snow when it melts, is around 1/2 inch in far western Maryland and adjoining parts of West Virginia. This snow water equivalent is considered to be hydrologically insignificant.

The weather outlook through nearly mid-March calls for above normal precipitation through the end of February but then below normal precipitation as we enter the month of March. Temperatures early in the period are expected to be above normal but then fall below average. The Climate Prediction Center's 30 day outlook for March as well as the 90 day outlook for March through May calls for near average precipitation and above normal temperatures.

The outlook for water resources for the next several weeks looks fair in the south and good in the north. Significant rainfall in January helped to alleviate much of the dry conditions in central Virginia, but an extended dry period has returned to much of the southern portion of the MARFC area. A significant precipitation event is expected to finish out the month of February, but then it appears that dry weather will return. Though the onset of spring (which typically leads to an increase in water usage) is still a few weeks away, moisture conditions leading up to the start of the season are currently drier than average for late February. As a result (and despite the likelihood of a significant weather event to close out February), the outlook for water resources has not improved. But, for now, 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 based mainly on current precipitation forecasts and remain sufficient or abundant with no water shortages expected at least for the next several weeks.

End.