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Latest Report to the Drought Monitoring Task Force from the University of Virginia Climatology Office:
 

REPORT FROM THE STATE CLIMATOLOGIST

May 19, 2006

Despite a persistent jet-stream pattern that would normally be conducive to above-normal rainfall, the statewide average rain from May 1-17 was 75% of normal, or 1.74 inches.  However, mid-term moisture status (since April 1) is largely within the normal range, with a statewide average of 96% of the long-term mean.

This mid-term moisture, along with cooler than normal temperatures for the first half of May, has minimized the direct agricultural effects that might normally be associated with the longer-term precipitation deficit.

It is probably appropriate to reference January 1, 2006, as the benchmark for the current situation, as rainfall in late 2005 was quite plentiful.  The statewide average since January 1 is 10.95 inches, or 66% of the long-term average of 16.57 inches. 

In terms of historical perspective, this is a shortfall rate that is not as severe as the rates that were maintained in the last major drought that began around the turn of the century.  However, the 5.5-inch shortfall is now superimposed upon a normal increase in evapotranspiration (which has been recently held in check by below-normal temperatures).

It is important to emphasize that the seasonal transition to more scattered precipitation has been somewhat delayed this year, but can certainly be expected to become more evident in coming weeks.  It will be very difficult to recover accumulated deficits in deep-layer soil moisture (despite fairly moist shallow-layer conditions as of this writing) as summer progresses.  In a normal year, there is only a 30% probability that mid-summer rainfall exceeds evapotranspiration, which is why agricultural drought can develop so rapidly in this region.  This year, because of the accumulated deficit, June and July rainfall would have to be both unusually uniform and in the 90th or higher percentiles of observation in order to prevent the appearance of at least circumscribed areas of significant agricultural deficit.

Long range weather forecasting models indicate normal rainfall averaged across Virginia through the first few days of June, about 1.75 inches.  However, even if this is realized, the distribution is likely to become increasingly scattered.

 

PRELIMINARY PRECIPITATION SUMMARY   Prepared:
         6/16/06
         
DROUGHT  JUN 1, 2006 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 2.69 2.21 0.48 122%
2 New River 1.77 2.05 -0.28 86%
3 Roanoke 2.22 2.07 0.15 107%
4 Upper James 1.94 1.98 -0.04 98%
5 Middle James 2.28 1.87 0.41 122%
6 Shenandoah 1.24 1.98 -0.73 63%
7 Northern Virginia 0.96 2.06 -1.10 47%
8 Northern Piedmont 1.31 2.14 -0.83 61%
9 Chowan 2.72 1.95 0.78 140%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 2.15 1.90 0.26 114%
11 York-James 2.37 1.82 0.55 131%
12 Southeast Virginia 6.17 1.92 4.25 321%
13 Eastern Shore 4.24 1.59 2.65 267%
Statewide 2.22 2.02 0.20 110%
         
         
DROUGHT  MAY 1, 2006 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 6.21 7.03 -0.82 88%
2 New River 4.31 6.26 -1.95 69%
3 Roanoke 4.29 6.41 -2.12 67%
4 Upper James 3.42 6.26 -2.84 55%
5 Middle James 4.67 6.11 -1.44 76%
6 Shenandoah 2.90 5.82 -2.92 50%
7 Northern Virginia 3.38 6.40 -3.02 53%
8 Northern Piedmont 3.73 6.36 -2.62 59%
9 Chowan 5.94 6.03 -0.09 99%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 5.16 6.06 -0.90 85%
11 York-James 5.81 6.09 -0.28 95%
12 Southeast Virginia 9.65 5.79 3.87 167%
13 Eastern Shore 6.74 5.10 1.64 132%
Statewide 4.75 6.28 -1.53 76%
         
         
DROUGHT  APR 1, 2006 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 12.58 10.79 1.79 117%
2 New River 8.17 9.81 -1.64 83%
3 Roanoke 7.16 10.21 -3.05 70%
4 Upper James 6.98 9.66 -2.68 72%
5 Middle James 7.53 9.45 -1.92 80%
6 Shenandoah 5.45 8.74 -3.29 62%
7 Northern Virginia 7.49 9.70 -2.21 77%
8 Northern Piedmont 7.71 9.64 -1.94 80%
9 Chowan 9.98 9.46 0.52 106%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 9.90 9.15 0.75 108%
11 York-James 9.43 9.38 0.05 100%
12 Southeast Virginia 13.45 9.03 4.42 149%
13 Eastern Shore 10.74 8.02 2.72 134%
Statewide 8.53 9.70 -1.17 88%
         
         
DROUGHT  MAR 1, 2006 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 14.81 15.04 -0.22 99%
2 New River 9.09 13.49 -4.39 67%
3 Roanoke 7.78 14.48 -6.70 54%
4 Upper James 7.84 13.45 -5.61 58%
5 Middle James 7.93 13.51 -5.58 59%
6 Shenandoah 5.85 11.94 -6.09 49%
7 Northern Virginia 7.95 13.36 -5.40 60%
8 Northern Piedmont 8.08 13.45 -5.37 60%
9 Chowan 10.35 13.83 -3.48 75%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 10.41 13.43 -3.01 78%
11 York-James 9.88 14.07 -4.19 70%
12 Southeast Virginia 13.91 13.24 0.67 105%
13 Eastern Shore 11.17 12.33 -1.16 91%
Statewide 9.27 13.74 -4.47 67%
         
         
DROUGHT  FEB 1, 2006 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 16.70 18.61 -1.92 90%
2 New River 10.39 16.42 -6.03 63%
3 Roanoke 9.35 17.79 -8.44 53%
4 Upper James 9.05 16.30 -7.24 56%
5 Middle James 9.63 16.63 -7.00 58%
6 Shenandoah 8.44 14.35 -5.91 59%
7 Northern Virginia 10.42 16.03 -5.60 65%
8 Northern Piedmont 9.95 16.42 -6.47 61%
9 Chowan 11.67 17.00 -5.32 69%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 12.23 16.57 -4.33 74%
11 York-James 10.83 17.59 -6.77 62%
12 Southeast Virginia 15.00 16.74 -1.74 90%
13 Eastern Shore 12.15 15.52 -3.38 78%
Statewide 10.91 16.87 -5.96 65%
         
         
DROUGHT  JAN 1, 2006 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 19.96 22.35 -2.39 89%
2 New River 13.46 19.63 -6.17 69%
3 Roanoke 12.33 21.70 -9.38 57%
4 Upper James 12.17 19.57 -7.40 62%
5 Middle James 12.54 20.30 -7.76 62%
6 Shenandoah 10.96 17.20 -6.24 64%
7 Northern Virginia 13.24 19.30 -6.06 69%
8 Northern Piedmont 12.53 19.94 -7.41 63%
9 Chowan 14.01 21.11 -7.10 66%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 15.39 20.32 -4.92 76%
11 York-James 14.91 21.73 -6.82 69%
12 Southeast Virginia 18.37 20.90 -2.53 88%
13 Eastern Shore 14.84 19.09 -4.25 78%
Statewide 13.96 20.51 -6.55 68%
         
         
DROUGHT  DEC 1, 2005 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 23.29 25.99 -2.70 90%
2 New River 15.86 22.34 -6.48 71%
3 Roanoke 15.90 24.96 -9.06 64%
4 Upper James 14.76 22.52 -7.76 66%
5 Middle James 16.67 23.47 -6.80 71%
6 Shenandoah 12.53 19.79 -7.26 63%
7 Northern Virginia 15.86 22.40 -6.53 71%
8 Northern Piedmont 15.67 23.22 -7.55 67%
9 Chowan 19.69 24.13 -4.44 82%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 19.76 23.60 -3.83 84%
11 York-James 19.00 25.11 -6.12 76%
12 Southeast Virginia 22.42 24.08 -1.65 93%
13 Eastern Shore 18.75 22.33 -3.58 84%
Statewide 17.43 23.63 -6.20 74%
         
         
DROUGHT  NOV 1, 2005 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 26.25 29.27 -3.03 90%
2 New River 19.59 25.37 -5.78 77%
3 Roanoke 19.84 28.32 -8.48 70%
4 Upper James 19.87 25.88 -6.01 77%
5 Middle James 20.13 26.98 -6.85 75%
6 Shenandoah 17.23 22.84 -5.61 75%
7 Northern Virginia 18.79 25.81 -7.01 73%
8 Northern Piedmont 19.35 27.01 -7.67 72%
9 Chowan 23.28 27.24 -3.96 85%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 23.29 26.73 -3.44 87%
11 York-James 22.15 28.48 -6.34 78%
12 Southeast Virginia 26.21 27.15 -0.93 97%
13 Eastern Shore 21.33 25.27 -3.94 84%
Statewide 21.03 26.86 -5.83 78%
         
         
DROUGHT  OCT 1, 2005 - JUN 15, 2006
  REGION OBSERVED NORMAL DEPARTURE % OF NORM.
1 Big Sandy 28.31 32.16 -3.85 88%
2 New River 23.61 28.54 -4.93 83%
3 Roanoke 26.11 32.03 -5.92 82%
4 Upper James 24.86 29.13 -4.27 85%
5 Middle James 26.57 30.82 -4.25 86%
6 Shenandoah 22.28 26.03 -3.75 86%
7 Northern Virginia 27.43 29.28 -1.85 94%
8 Northern Piedmont 27.70 31.01 -3.31 89%
9 Chowan 27.75 30.82 -3.07 90%
10 Northern Coastal Plain 30.10 30.24 -0.13 100%
11 York-James 28.65 32.01 -3.37 89%
12 Southeast Virginia 32.88 30.81 2.08 107%
13 Eastern Shore 27.27 28.48 -1.22 96%
Statewide 26.50 30.36 -3.86 87%

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