November Summary Drought Update

November Recap,
and Drought Update
December 4, 2016

November 2016 has come and gone!
Here in Ulster County, the month was fairly typical in terms of temperature, rain, and snowfall.

The average temperature for the month was 52.1 degrees which was slightly above the normal average of 49.0. The highest temperature was 68 which was set on November 2nd and 3rd. The lowest temperature was 25, which was set on the 21st and 23rd.

The only snow last month was associated with the impressive November 20 - 22nd Lake Effect Snowfall event. Mohonk Lake received a total of 5.3 inches of snow on those dates, which is nearly double the normal snowfall for the month of November. The maximum Ulster County snow report during this event was 8.0 inches in Pine Hill; Kingston barely saw a trace of snow. Redfield, NY, downwind of Lake Ontario, recorded 54 inches (!!) - the most in the state.

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Caption: Snow totals varied during the November 19-22 Lake Effect Snow event.
Click snow map for larger version In terms of rainfall,
November was both a positive and a negative month. For the first time since July, Both Poughkeepsie and Mohonk Lake reported above normal rainfall for the month. Both locations received over three inches of rain. This is good news for the region which has been in a growing drought since September. Since early October, Kingston's Cooper Lake reservoir has been falling at a rate of 5% every two weeks. November began with a "Drought Alert" and Lake water levels at 70%. On November 10th a "Drought Warning" was declared as water levels fell to 65%. The 1.71 inches of rain that fell on November 15th helped to stabilize the falling water levels some, but by early last week, water levels had fallen to 61%. An additional 1.6 inches fell in the last two days of the month, which has since pushed water levels to 70% [>>Link<<]. Kingston recorded a total of 2.6 inches of rain during last week's storm, but some of that fell on December 1st (1.2 inches measured the morning of Nov. 30th and 1.4 inches measured the morning of Dec. 1st). The disconcerting part of November's rainfall is that it was largely due to rainfall on just two days. It would be much more reassuring for drought recovery to see smaller amounts of rain at more frequent intervals, because as we head into winter when there is typically less moisture, it should become more difficult to experience single day soaking rainfalls that are capable of recharging the reservoir — the kind that got us through November.
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Caption: November's rainfall was above average for the first time since July.
Click image for larger version
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Caption: Falling water levels at Cooper Lake revealed a small island in early November. The island had evolved into a small land bridge by the end of the month extending more than halfway across the lake. -
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Caption: Water levels at the Ashokan Reservoir fell to near 50% in November revealing the cut-stone foundations of pre-reservoir homes along with vast expanses of the reservoir floor.

-Ethan

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