Rain in the Carolinas a Welcome Sight

It’s been a welcome sight the last two weeks or so….rain. NC State Climatologist Dr. Ryan Boyles:

“We’re seeing certainly some improvement in the surface reservoirs, ground water, however is slower to respond. I mean, we had one of the driest winters on record, in fact, in North Carolina, it’s the 6th driest winter on record, going back to 1895. So, while we haven’t’ seen a whole lot of ag impacts out there, our water resources have been suffering, and we’ve seen some improvements, but, really with the rainfall we’ve had the past week, it’s just enough to keep us from getting worse.”

Reservoirs around the state have benefited from the rain, according to Boyles, but the groundwater, not so much:

“The types of storms that we’ve gotten here in the past week are the types that we need to see more frequently for us to have good recovery. And we have seen some recovery, especially in the surface reservoirs, we need more of these types of storms to bring some good recovery to our water tables.”

While still months away, this year’s tropical storm activity could be influenced by the two-year-old La Nina weather pattern breaking down later this spring:

“El Nino and La Nina cycles are maximized in the winter time, and go to neutral phase in the summer, and as we go into the summer, it almost doesn’t matter with El Nino and La Nina as to what happens because that long-term relationship between our rainfall pattern and El Nino and La Nina, those relationships kind of fizzle during the summer time. Big factor for us is whether we’re likely to see tropical storms, and a lot of tropical storms. And then where they go. So, right now, because of the warmer ocean temperatures we’re expecting because of the fizzling La Nina event, we’re more likely to see an active tropical storm season.”

Boyles says, unfortunately, guidance for predicting summer moisture is scarce:

“Probably going to continue to be dry. The best guidance we have is it’s going to be dry over the next few months, as we get more into late spring and early summer, it really is anyone’s game. Of course, that is critical time for a lot of the crops that are going to be going into the ground, germinating and coming up.”

But, the situation with the reservoirs is tenuous at best, according to Boyles:

“We’re keeping a close eye on the water resources, see how they respond to the rain flow, and how these next few events that come through, as much as anything it’s the frequency of the rainfall that can have an impact, not just the amount.”

Dr. Ryan Boyles, NC State Climatologist.

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