Drought conditions in Pennsylvania expected to last several months
A dry summer could be on the horizon.
Rainfall has slowed across central Pennsylvania, leading the Department of Environmental Protection to declare a drought watch. The declaration comes during a week filled with scattered showers.
“We were in a very dry pattern, and then this past week we got a pretty good amount of rain. But now there are indications that once again, it’s gonna turn dry,” said Bill Marosi, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
Pennsylvania is expected to see less rain in the coming weeks, said Marosi.
Droughts usually occur at the end of summer, rather than right before the start, Marosi said.
“We’re not really entering a time of the year where drought conditions would typically improve,” Marosi said.
In order for the drought watch declaration to end, water levels of various sorts need to be analyzed, according to Neil Shader, communications director at the Department of Environmental Protection.
“Some of that is surface water, so that’s gonna be your rivers and streams and how much flow they have,” Shader said. “Some of that is going to be things like soil moisture, how much water topsoil is retaining. Some of it is gonna be groundwater levels. So it’s a variety of factors that we’re taking a look at.”Indication models by the National Weather Service go 10 to 15 days in advance, so it is difficult to get an accurate look at how long the drought may last, Marosi said.
“Odds are we’ll probably gonna be dry for several months, but that is based on current conditions, current expectations, which can change pretty quickly around here,” Marosi said.
Updates on current drought outlooks can be found on the DEP’s drought web page.