Moderate drought conditions increasing across Western New York

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — This spring so far has been a dry one across Western New York. Not only has it been a dry spring, but it’s been dry since the start of the year.

Here are the numbers showing from top to bottom: total accumulated precipitation, our departure from average, and the average amount of accumulated precipitation up to this point.

Since January 1st up to now, we currently have a rainfall deficit of over 2 inches in Rochester. We also have a similar deficit of over 2 inches of rain since March 1st, which means we’re very dry and very much in need of some rain. Below are the latest drought monitor conditions across New York State.

New York State Drought Monitor

The drought monitor is updated weekly every Thursday, and the latest update now includes Livingston, Orleans, Genesee, all of Wyoming counties, and almost all of Monroe county.

The last time Monroe county was in a moderate drought (D1) was briefly in 2018. The time before that was in 2016, which was one of the worst droughts within the state’s recent history. The orange spikes below show how much of Monroe county (as a percentage) fell under moderate drought conditions.

Data courtesy

In some areas located within the moderate drought, rainfall deficits are running close to 3 inches over the past 90 days. Local streams and groundwater levels are now beginning to feel the effects with lower than normal water levels.

The image below shows how each level of drought is classified. The scale ranges from D0 to D4 starting with abnormally dry all the way up to exceptional drought.

Drought Classification courtesy

With rainfall deficits so high, the area is very much in need of some rain. Find out when we can expect showers in the area HERE.

There are a lot of way you can help out when your area is experiencing varying levels of drought. When things get too dry, one of the most important things you can do is to start conserving water. Want to help? You can find a list of different water conservation tips HERE.

As we go forward into spring and conditions happen to remain similar if not as dry as they are now, it will become that much more difficult for any incoming rain to provide significant relief to the area. When we see low end rain chances that are light at best, it can easily be overwhelmed by the dry air preventing any rain from reaching the ground. This will mean it might take something more significant to saturate the air and provide any relief to the area.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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