D.C. region suffering through rain deficit

WASHINGTON — Grassy lawns are turning to straw and trees are shedding their leaves early as the region’s dry spell continues.

The D.C. region has been running up a short-term rainfall deficit of between two and six inches over the last couple of months, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

Since mid-July, the metro area has seen only 25 to 50 percent of its average 60-day rainfall average.

Sections of Montgomery County, Fairfax County and southern Maryland are particularly parched, having received less than an inch of rain in the past 30 days.

The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has listed the D.C. metro area as abnormally dry — a designation used for areas showing dryness but not yet in moderate drought.

Places not classified as abnormally dry include Frederick and Carroll counties in Maryland, and most of Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier counties in Virginia, where summer storms have been more plentiful.

There is no significant precipitation in the forecast through the end of the week, the National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia, says.

Last month was the driest August in the District and Arlington since 2006. Only 1.16 inches of rain fell at Ronald Reagan National Airport. Storms last week produced 0.27 inches of rain.

A scant 1.09 inches of rain fell at Dulles Airport in August, far from the 2.44-inch average for the month. So far in September, 0.31 inches has fallen.

Thanks to above-average snowfall and numerous June thunderstorms, there is a surplus of precipitation to date for the entire year. The 33.16 inches recorded since Jan. 1 is 4.74 inches above the year-to-date average.

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