A Virginia winery. (DCbmyers/Flickr)

Despite multiple days of rain over the past week, the D.C. region is still in a severe drought. It didn’t even make a dent, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report.

It’s not that we didn’t get a good rain. Between 1 and 2 inches has fallen across the D.C. metro area since Sunday alone. That’s more rain than December and January combined, WUSA’s Melissa Nord reports. It was enough to prevent the drought from worsening, but it wasn’t enough to provide relief.

The National Weather Service says the D.C. region needs 2 to 5 inches of rain on top of what we’d normally get to break out of this drought.

Rainfall totals since Nov. 1 (compared to normal)

Washington — 5.11 inches (9.69 inches)

Baltimore — 5.76 inches (10.44 inches)

Dulles — 6.38 inches (9.74 inches)

Charlottesville — 4.46 inches (10.28 inches)

Martinsburg, W.Va. — 6.31 inches (8.86 inches)

Hagerstown, Pa. — 6.55 inches (9.42 inches)

The winter-long precipitation deficit has spread the drought across much of the Mid-Atlantic, from Virginia to eastern Pennsylvania. Along the I-95 corridor between Washington and Baltimore, the drought is “severe,” which means crop loss is likely, water shortages are possible and, in some cases, water restrictions might be put in effect.


Drought status as of Thursday, Feb. 8. (U.S. Drought Monitor/NOAA)

There’s another chance this weekend to make up some of the water deficit. Starting Saturday afternoon, we expect a big slug of rain to push into the D.C. area, which could last through at least Sunday morning. Forecast models suggest 1 to 2 inches of rain — higher totals east of I-95 and lower totals in the northwest suburbs.

It could be enough to chip away at the edges of this particularly dry situation, but it doesn’t seem likely that it will  end the drought.


Precipitation forecast through next Thursday from the National Weather Service. (pivotalweather.com)