Thankful for the Rain

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By Stephen Gode on May 8, 2013, 4:04pm Last modified: May 9, 2013, 11:33am

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This photo shows one of the frosty mornings before today's rain.

Connecticut was treated to a string of gorgeous days featuring relatively seasonable temperatures with some frosty mornings and dry weather. Besides a few drops of rain, the state has not seen more than a tenth of an inch or so since April 20, 2013. Today, there is certainly the potential for over a tenth of an inch of rain across the state, but significant rain is needed.

Currently (as of 10:40 am):

Some areas around Bridgeport and Danbury have seen pockets of moderate to heavy rain at times. Precipitation estimates seem to be over a tenth of an inch and could have pockets approaching a half of an inch already this morning. More rain is coming shortly for other parts of the state from south and other pockets of rain out ahead inland are being shown on radar, but not as heavy. Earlier in the NYC area, 1 to 3 inches of rain and multiple reports of flooding was experienced from heavy rain and thunderstorms. The activity has since weakened and moved northwestward. Update: At about 1 pm and after, a line of heavy rain and a few embedded thunderstorms developed. The rain went through sections of the shoreline and continued to gradually move through interior sections and eastern areas across Connecticut.  

Precipitation forecast:

On and off rain can be expected today with chances of rain until at least Saturday. A tenth to a quarter of an inch of rain is possible today with locally higher significant amounts. Friday could be mainly dry at this point. The cut-off low pressure system will give Connecticut some rain on and off until Thursday as the system moves through our area. On Saturday, there will be an approaching slow moving frontal boundary with waves of low pressure areas developing possibly along the boundary to increase chances of rain. Agreement in the models is not there yet in reference to timing and how it may pan out.  Some showers still have a small chance to linger into Sunday. Any training of heavier showers and thunderstorms could result in some ponding and potentially a low threat for flash flooding. Because the ground has been at least fairly dry there can be areas of enhanced runoff from heavy rains. On average, rainfall totals from today through the weekend may approach a half of an inch to possibly an inch with higher amounts possible. We really could use it. 

Rainfall Deficit:

Yesterday (May 7, 2013), the precipitation departure from normal since January 1 for Hartford, CT was below 4.54 inches and since March 1 for Hartford was below 3.93 inches. For Bridgeport, CT (May 7, 2013), the precipitation departure from normal since January 1 was below 4.24 inches and since March 1 was below 5.37 inches (showing that it has been drier more recently).

Are we in a drought?

Update: The U.S. Drought Monitor suggests almost the entire state is in a moderate drought as of May 7, 2013. We have to see next week's update to see if the drought was brief. Hopefully, the recent rains and upcoming potential showers are enough for at least some improvement.

Original: Tough to say. If not, we came very close. The U.S. Drought Monitor (should update by tomorrow morning) has the state classified in Abnormally Dry, not quite a drought as of April 30, 2013.

Palmer Drought Index (NOAA): Near Normal

Crop Moisture Index (NOAA): Normal (probably on the slightly dry end)

We have to see how much rain we receive by this weekend, but any amount of rain should be very appreciated, especially for our lawns/gardens and reservoirs (below normal, but not critical at this point), as long as it doesn't flood (overall very low flood threat). Unfortunately, it may take a flood to erase or put a decent dent in the deficit.

Streams are running at near to record low levels for this time of year indicated by the red dots on the map below by the USGS (United States Geological Survey), in regards to discharge. Discharge is the quantity of water passing a location along a stream. Some improvement is noticed already with the blue dots on the map below in southwestern portions of Connecticut. The streamflow conditions should continue to improve after these bouts of rain.

USGS classifies nearly the entire state in a severe hydrologic drought below, which is based on below normal streamflow and river discharge overall near or below the 5th percentile for this day (May 7, 2013) of the year.

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Stephen Gode

Town: North Haven, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since September 2012.

Articles: 41

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