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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 03/26/2009

Moderate Drought for D.C. Metro Area

Rainy period a real relief

* Rainy Afternoon & Evening: Full Forecast | Owning the Weather *

April showers have arrived early, and it's none too soon.

You don't need a meteorologist to know you haven't used your umbrella much lately. Unless we get enough rain over the next several days, March will be the sixth consecutive month with below-average precipitation. February was D.C.'s driest February on record (dating back to 1872), with only 0.35" at Reagan National Airport. And since Jan. 1, both National and Dulles airports are running nearly 5" below normal.

The dryness has taken its toll according to this morning's weekly update from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which places the D.C. metro area in the moderate drought category.

How big of a dent will rain over the next several days make in our drought? Keep reading...

Just how dry have things been?

From the Drought Monitor discussion:

Short-term dryness continued to intensify across the middle Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic States, resulting in a broad expansion of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1). In the region of D1, Baltimore, Maryland, has endured its driest start to a calendar year during the nearly 140-year period of record. Through March 24, Baltimore's year-to-date precipitation stood at 3.79 inches, just 40% of normal.

Chris Laudicina, weather analyst at WUSA-9, was kind enough to send us some telling statistics he compiled (all for Reagan National, through yesterday):

Last day(s) with 0.5" or greater: January 6 (0.52") and January 7 (1.26")

Last day(s) with 0.25" or greater: March 1 (0.25") and March 2 (0.25"); these numbers represent the amount of liquid water produced by melting the 1" and 4.5" of snow that fell on those days, respectively.

Last day with 0.1" or greater: March 14 (0.1")

Rain expected today through the weekend should help the situation, and could even get us within an inch of normal for March -- through yesterday, Reagan National had recorded 0.87" of liquid precipitation for the month, which averages a total of 3.6".

But to really get ourselves out from the growing grip of drought we'll need rainfall over the next few months that is more consistent than that of the past several.

How much rain do you think will fall today through the weekend? Have you seen any signs of drought in your neighborhood? Let us know with a comment below.

By  |  11:15 AM ET, 03/26/2009

Categories:  Droughts, Droughts

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