Friday, October 23, 2009

Dry 2009 So Far in the Triangle....

This week's drought monitor places much of central North Carolina under a moderate drought. The rainfall deficit for Raleigh-Durham now stands at 9.34" for the year. If the Triangle does not see much rain over the next couple of months, 2009 may go down in the record books as one of the driest years on record. So far this year, RDU has measured 26.87" of rain. Compare that do the top 10 driest years for the Raleigh-Durham area since 1887:
  1. 1933: 29.33"
  2. 1921: 32.09"
  3. 1976: 33.71"
  4. 1930: 33.92"
  5. 1965: 34.42"
  6. 1940: 34.46"
  7. 1951: 34.52"
  8. 2001: 34.78"
  9. 1991: 35.46"
  10. 1968: 35.60"

One of the reason's the area is behind normal for rainfall this year is the lack of rainfall from any tropical systems. North Carolina picks up a large amount of its average rainfall during the summer from tropical systems that either directly impact the state or from moisture of remnant tropical systems that may impact southeastern United States. A quiet hurricane season will often lead to a drier than normal summer.

There is some evidence we'll be able to make up some of our over 9" deficit. The 6-10 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) forecasts above normal rainfall for North Carolina. The winter outlook from the CPC forecasts near normal precipitation across the southeast. It appears an El Nino weather pattern will impact conditions across the country this winter. Local research from the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh suggests North Carolina typically experiences above normal rainfall during an El Nino winter.

Thanks to the climate team at the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh for providing the information for today's blog post.

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