Kingston Drought Alert

Kingston Drought Alert
Sunday October 16th

A couple weeks ago, Kingstonsnows did a 2016 Summer Weather Summary [Link] outlining notable warmth and dry conditions that had been gripping the region. New York State issued its first "drought watch" [Link] since 2002 back in July, however, Kingston's water reserves were near normal at the time. Since then, the conditions have continued to deteriorate leading Kingston officials to issue a "drought alert" this week [Link]. The alert advises residents to voluntarily conserve water, and is the first advisory issued since 2012.

So how bad is the drought?

Parts of New York have been in severe drought conditions for quite some time now, however, the developments across the Hudson Valley are fairly recent. Back on July 21st, it was reported that the main Kingston water source was 93% full, which is normal for this time of year. As of this weekend the water levels have fallen to 75%. This indicates that something happened over the past 12 weeks.

In the six weeks leading up to September 1st, precipitation across the Hudson Valley was slightly above normal at Mohonk Lake, and roughly 90% of normal at Poughkeepsie. In the six weeks between September 1st and today, both locations saw these percentages drop significantly - Mohonk Lake has seen 30% of its normal rainfall, while Poughkeepsie received a mere 15%. And if we just look at the first half of October, the picture gets even worse with Monhonk remaining near 30%, but with Poughkeepsie having received just one percent of its normal 2.4 inches! The graph below divides these percentages by month at both locations.

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Caption: While July saw above normal precipitation for both Poughkeepsie (blue) and Mohonk (orange), rainfall amounts have steadily fallen well below normal at a significant rate since then. Both locations were well below average in September, and remained so into October.
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The following provides a historical context for the lack of rainfall.

Poughkeepsie
Records go back 67 years

Time Period Rank
September 6th driest on record
September 1st to October 15th Driest on record
October 1st to 15th 3rd driest on record

Mohonk Lake
Records go back 120 years

Time Period Rank
September 19th driest on record
September 1st to October 15th 7th driest on record
October 1st to 15th 21st driest on record

In short, the drought has become rather substantial in just a few weeks. The current forecast notes the possibility of rain showers late in the week, however, it seems unlikely that there will be much improvement in the dry conditions within the next two weeks. Please do your part to conserve water.

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