If weather worries turn into reality, Pennsylvanians could be facing a potential drought in the central and eastern parts of the state. The USDA’s latest Drought Monitor shows 60 percent of the state in some sort of abnormally dry conditions, compared to 49 percent last week.
The Associated Press reports that members of the state’s Drought Task Force, which includes representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service and other government agencies, will meet next week to discuss the possible effects from scant snowfall this winter and a drier-than-average spring.
Officials have yet to issue a drought watch, which would encourage residents in specific areas to conserve water.
At this point, officials will asses data on precipitation, surface water, ground water and soil moisture in 90-day increments before deciding whether to issue a drought watch or warning.
According to Hydrologist Charles Ross, earlier this week the Susquehanna River was flowing at less than 20 percent of its normal rate -- the slowest flow since 1910. Despite the possible outlook, Ross added that the state will be in pretty “good shape” if the state receives average rainfall.
The USDA’s short-term objective drought indicator showed the state covered in some sort of drought condition, including eastern parts of the state potentially dealing with extreme drought. However, long-term conditions appeared to be more positive for the state.