COMPARISON OF RECENT DROUGHTS IN NORTHEASTERN U.S.

Revised - August  5, 1999

FACTOR

1960'S

1979-81

1984-85

1988-89

1991-92

1993

1994-95

1998-99 Continuing

1) Length

Fall 1961 - Spring 1967

5 years +

Fall 1979 - Spring 1981

1 1/2 years

Summer84-Summer'85

1 year

Fall 88 - Spring 89

9 months

Spring 91-Summer 92

15 months

Spring 93-Fall 93

9 months

Fall 1994-Fall 1995

1 Year

June 1998-Aug 1999

14 months

2) Area From central Maine through eastern Ohio and south   through North Carolina

[100,000 sq. miles]

From Maine through theCarolinas east of the Appalachians

Great Plains south throughTexas, Rocky Mountains,portions of far west

From Maine through Florida, generally east of the Appalachians From Maine through PA east of Appalachians Northeast,Ohio Valley Midwest Eastern U.S. Maine to Florida From Maine south through VA, and west to Ohio From  New England to NC westward to OH, KY
3) Maximum Precipitation Deficiency

50 inches +

From southwestern CT to northern Delaware

(Oct 1961 - Dec 1965)

75 % of normal

15 inches +

Scattered locats in MA, CT ern PA, NC, SC

[Sept 79 -Jan 81]

75 % of normal

up to 20 inches

NH, CT, sern. NY, RI

[Aug 84 - Apr 85]

50 % of normal

12 inches

CT, MA, ME, NY, NJ, PA

14 inches

PA, WV

12 inches ME (9/92-9/93)

9 inches SC

Greatest deficiencies in NY, NJ, PA, DE

Maximum deficiency   12.6 in, Middlesex, NJ (9/94-9/95) 13.1 Lackawanna Co. PA

Greatest deficiencies in VA, MD, WV

up to 20 inches + 60% of norm

4) Streamflow 

 

Trenton, NJ Delaware R.

All time record low streamflows (Delaware River, Potomac )

[1180 CFS ]         [October 1963]

Below normal flowsA few record low monthly Streamflows January 1981

[2429 CFS ]            [January 1981 ]

Lowest mean flow for Apr 1985, NJ index stations

[3100 CFS]

Below normal flows

   [3800 CFS]       October 1988

Allegheny R. 24% normal

Delaware R. 45% of normal

[2680 CFS]

Raritan R. NJ 48%

Delaware R. 50%

[300 CFS]
August 1993

Raritan R. 36% of norm; Hackensack, Ramapo at record low Hudson at Hadley and Green Is. record low Flows in PA streams 30 % of normal 

 [2630 CFS]
August 1995

Record low monthly flows

July 1999 - PA, VA, WV   50% of stream flow sites in lower 10% on record 

            [2300 CFS]              July 1999 

5) Groundwater Levels

Many Wells at record low levels Water table 5 to 10 feet below normal

Below normal 4 of 13 wells in NJ at monthly record lows levels for Mar during January

Below normal A few monthly 1981Apr-95

2 to 5 feet below normal

Below normal

Locally below normal

Water table 2-4 feet below normal NJ Record low levels for time of year

6) Runoff 52 year median  Delaware River

1913 - 1965

[12.1 inches (1965) ]  50 % of normal

[14.6 inches/1980 ]    60 % of normal

20 % of normal Feb, Mar, Apr 1985     NYC Resvr system 50 % of normal      MA, RI, Delaware R/ Trenton           Jan-Mar 1985           38 % of normal

est. 65% of normal
7) Water Supply Delaware Basin NYC Water Supply 25 % of capacity 1965

25 % of capacity Feb 1981

40 % of capacity Dec 1984

45% capacity 32% of capacity Nov-91 37% of capacity

Nov-93

NYC Total 9/14 58.1%, norm 78.7% Wilmington DE lowest water levels ever -  44 % of capacity 9/16/95 Shallow wells running dry. Some communities in VA,WV,PA, MD, NJ are on water restriction.
City of Baltimore 35-60 days supply of water.
8) Palmer Drought Index

-6                         Extreme drought

-4.5                           Just into Severe drought category

-5                            Severe drought

-2.5                 Moderate drought

      -4.1 NW PA

-4.6 SC   -4.4 LI    -4.0 ME         -4.6 se CT, -4.5 LI,      -5.0 DE

-5.7 MD  -5.5 WV.
Extreme drought - MD, VA, WV, DE, NY

9) Drought Declarations Drought Emergencies: ern PA, nrn. NJ Rockland CO., NY, nrn DE Drought Warning: cntrl PA, NYC Metro, entire Delaware River Basin, se NY (16 counties)

Drought Watch: LI, counties in se NY, wrn PA
Numerous Drought declarations in WV, VA, MD, DE, NJ, PA, NYand CT.
PA - Drought emergency for 55 counties.
MD - Statewide mandatory water restrictions.

 

10) Salt-water Intrusion Hudson R. - Poughkeepsie (75 miles up-river) Delaware R. - nr River mile 88.1 miles south of Philadelphia Airport. Del R - nr. river mile 85.4 miles south of PHL arpt
11) Agricultural Impact PA Corn, Soy beans. MD/DE up to 3/4 corn soybean, tobacco crops destroyed Widespread impact in Mid-Atlantic. Federal disaster declarations in several states.
12) Fire Danger "Extreme" fire conditions in federal/state forests "Extreme" fire conditions in federal/state forests. Small brush fires reported.

The table above is courtesy of the Hydrological Services Division of the NWS Eastern Region Headquarters.

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