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Water Resources Outlook - Northern MARFC Area
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Map of the Northern Water Resources Outlook Region

February 28, 2015 February precipitation has been running 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches below normal for southern New York, Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey. This is 25 to over 50 percent below average. The rest of New Jersey has been about average for precipitation. It has been a very cold month with temperatures running 10 to over 12 degrees below normal making this the coldest or one of the coldest Februarys on record. Over the past 90 days, precipitation for southern New York, most of Pennsylvania, and northwest New Jersey has been 1 to 3 inches below average. Southeast Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey are about normal plus or minus an inch or so. And the rest of New Jersey has had 2 to 3 1/2 inches of above normal precipitation.

Snowpack continues to show significant differences from north to south. Snow depth amounts of mostly 10 to 18 inches are reported on the ground in southern New York. 6 to 12 inches are on the ground in the northern half of Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. Less than 6 inches is on the ground in the southern half of Pennsylvania and the rest of New Jersey. The water equivalent in this snow, or the amount of water that will be released when it melts, ranges from 2 to 4 1/2 inches in southern New York (where the deepest snow is reported). 1 to 3 inches of water equivalent is on the ground in most of Pennsylvania and the northern half of New Jersey. The southern portions of Pennsylvania along with the southern half of New Jersey have under 1 inch of water equivalent. This amount of snow will have minor to moderate hydrologic significance if it melts in the absence of an accompanying rainstorm. However, if accompanied by a significant warm-up and rainfall, melting snow could then have a moderate or greater effect on river rises. In addition to the snow, ice covers many streams and rivers.

Current (February 28) streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that streamflows are running much below normal in most areas. In the southern half of New Jersey, flows are about normal. Groundwater levels are below or much below normal in southern New York, Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey. Groundwater levels are mostly above normal in the rest of New Jersey.

The weather outlook through the middle of March calls for above normal precipitation in the first half of the period but then below average precipitation for the second half of the period. Temperatures are expected to be below average. The NWS Climate Prediction Center's 30 day outlook for March calls for near average precipitation and below normal temperatures. The 90 day outlook for March through May calls for near average precipitation and temperatures.

The outlook for water resources and water supplies is good across southern New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Though some indicators (precipitation deficits, streamflows, and groundwater levels) suggest dry conditions, a significant snowpack is in these areas, which is likely to offset any short term dryness when the snow eventually melts. Also, significant precipitation is forecast in the near term which is also likely to aid in improving those indicators. If below average precipitation continues or returns as winter begins to wind down, then this outlook will likely be downgraded in the coming weeks.


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Page last modified: October 29, 2014 10:58 PM
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