March 6, 2013 - February ended dry in the west to fairly wet in the east. Precipitation amounts of about 1 1/2 inches or less were reported in western Maryland, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and western Virginia. This amounted to 1 to nearly 2 inches less than normal. Meanwhile, 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches fell in the central and southern Delmarva Peninsula and Tidewater Region of Virginia which was 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches above normal. In between, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches fell. Calendar year 2013 is beginning to average itself out with nearly typical precipitation amounts to date plus or minus up to an inch or two. Over the past 90 days, precipitation has been generally near normal or up to an inch or so above normal.

Current (March 6) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are mostly around normal, mainly due to the recent storm. Groundwater levels are generally near normal or below normal.

The US Drought Monitor, as of February 26, indicates that abnormally dry conditions exist in west-central Virginia. A drought watch remains in effect for the upper James River region of Virginia. Drought declarations, if any, are declared by individual states.

The most recent storm has left quite a bit of snow on the ground for most areas west of I-95. Snow water equivalent, or the amount of water that will be released from the snow when it melts, is around 1/2 to 2 inches in this same area. This snow is expected to melt fairly quickly and is unlikely to cause hydrologic concerns in the absense of a significant rain event. Though a rain event is expected in the next week, much of this snow is expected to be gone.

The weather outlook past mid-March calls for near or above normal precipitation. 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 calls for near normal precipitation and temperatures. 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. A series of storms recently has slowly helped to improve water supplies and resources. Also, another precipitation event is expected which should continue the trend of slow improvement. 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 still drier than average for early March. As a result, though we have been having some wet (and white) weather lately, this trend will need to continue into the spring months before the outlook can improve. 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.