AREA RAINFALL

Rainy Week Washes Away Fear of Drought in Washington Area

Yvonne Jud, Heidi Gewehr and Peter Jud watch the raging water at Great Falls Park in McLean. Gewehr is from Reston, and the Juds are from Switzerland.
Yvonne Jud, Heidi Gewehr and Peter Jud watch the raging water at Great Falls Park in McLean. Gewehr is from Reston, and the Juds are from Switzerland. (By Sarah L. Voisin -- The Washington Post)
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By Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 8, 2009

A week of rain appears to have washed away drought worries in the Washington area.

As of yesterday evening, rainfall at Reagan National Airport was about half an inch below normal levels for the year. By evening, storms had brought half an inch to National Airport, 0.18 inches to Dulles International Airport and 0.56 inches to Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport.

That's a far cry from this winter, when bone-dry skies diminished rivers and caused farmers to worry about their crops. February was the driest since record-keeping began in 1872.

But a wet spring has mostly made up for it, leading the National Drought Mitigation Center to strip away the area's drought status as of Tuesday.

"For all intents and purposes, it's over," said Brian Lasorsa, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Although mild drought conditions officially persisted in central and western Virginia, he said he expected those to be gone when conditions are reevaluated next week.

At least a trace of rain has dampened Washington every day since April 29, and last month was wetter than normal for the first time since September. In April, National Airport saw 4 1/4 inches of rain, almost 1 1/2 inches more than usual.

The light but frequent rainfalls were exactly what the area needed, meteorologists said.

"This is a good way to get out of drought, with persistent but not overwhelming rain spread out over time," said Dan Stillman of the Capital Weather Gang on washingtonpost.com.


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