Drought?

Dry ground in Schenley Park, 19 Sep 2019 (photo by Kate St. John)

22 September 2019

The ground in my neighborhood is parched dry and the leaves are wilting. It’s beginning to look like a drought in Pittsburgh. Is it so?

Leaves drooping on leafstem, Schenley Park, 19 Sep 2019 (photo by Kate St. John)

As of this morning Pittsburgh’s September rainfall total was 1.39 inches above normal, a statistical anomaly. We had a record rainfall event on September 1 (3.38″) and nothing to speak of since then.

If we don’t include the deluge on September 1st, precipitation is 1.9 inches below normal.

Are we in a drought? Not yet, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. It takes more than three weeks without rain to make a drought. Indicators include stream flow, ground water and soil moisture. With a year-to-date excess of 9.44 inches, our drought severity index is zero.

U.S. Drought Monitor, 17 Sept 2019 (from droughtmonitor.unl.edu)

The weather forecast calls for showers tomorrow. I wonder if it will rain.

Leaves wilting in Pittsburgh, 19 Sep 2019 (photo by Kate St. John)

(photos and graph by Kate St. John, drought monitor map from droughtmonitor.unl.edu)

p.s. See a current map of the Long Term Palmer Drought Severity Index here.

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