Is a possible drought looming?

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Warmer, sunny weather is forecast for the rest of this week in New Jersey, with only a chance of a few scattered thunderstorms on Sunday.

It’s a great forecast if you’re planning on heading down the shore, but with below normal rainfall lately, there’s growing concern about a possible drought scenario.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson, based at Rutgers University, said precipitation totals have been well below average for some time.

“If you go to the far south of the state, they’ve been struggling to get out of deficits for the past two or three months. Meanwhile, if you take the northern half of the state, there’s really been little precipitation,” he said.

Rainfall totals are low

He said that in central and north Jersey we had rainfall totals “less than 25% of normal in some areas, less than 50% of normal in most of the region”.

New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said, “South Jersey got pretty drenched in early July, but even they started to lag over the past week. Further north the last month and more has been quite dry and the lawns are starting to turn brown as a result.

He pointed out that July is, on average, the wettest month of the year in Jersey, but this year that has not been the case.

Ghost town of St. Thomas in Lake Mead remains exposed as drought continues

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Abnormally dry

Robinson said “The National Drought Monitor considers most of North Jersey to be abnormally dry, and far south of Jersey, focusing on Cumberland County, also in abnormally dry conditions”.

He said normally during the summer because it’s so hot “you get a moisture deficit even though you see the rain, and here we don’t see the rain, we don’t see the sun, and the humidity is simply sucked out of the ground.”

So what does all this mean?

Robinson said rivers and streams are flowing below normal, reservoir levels are falling and the pace is picking up.

We’re going in the wrong direction

“There are a lot of indicators that we need to keep an eye on, they’re not going in the right direction right now,” Robinson said.

He pointed out that we have not yet gone through a drought stage, but “we are going to have to watch it because we are at a particularly vulnerable part of the year with the heat and any lack of precipitation, things can dry out because we saw very quickly.

Use common sense

Robinson said at this point it was still okay to wash cars and water lawns and gardens “but don’t let the hose run, don’t water every day, water a few times a week.”

New Jersey license plate in a garden

Getty Images/iStockphoto

He noted that water conservation is still important, but “especially now that we are in a particularly worrying situation, we have to be very careful”.

Zarrow agrees.

“It’s not yet an emergency, but it’s important that we remain vigilant about water use in case we fall into a total drought situation as the summer heats up,” he said. -he declares.

Robinson noted that hundreds of volunteers and dozens of automated weather monitoring stations across the state monitor precipitation conditions that people can check at the state’s climate level. website.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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