DC-area rivers almost down to trickle in recent dry snap

While the D.C. area has seen spits of rain this fall season, the moisture just hasn’t been enough and it’s reflecting on the area rivers.

The area is not alone though, the Mississippi River is also drying up.

Since the start of meteorological autumn (first day of September), rainfall in Washington has fallen behind by 2.54 inches. Rainfall from Tropical Storm Ian in September was only a trickle in the bucket.

While the region is not at the brink of a record dry autumn nor is it in a drought, river levels are falling behind.

Here’s a snapshot of how current creek and river levels compare to historic low levels:

Here’s a look at river levels. (WTOP/Chad Merrill)

Soil moisture isn’t suffering as much. It’s just short of average in the region. However, a growing moderate-to-severe soil moisture deficit is developing in the southern Shenandoah Valley.

A longer-term dry pattern in the nation’s midsection is having a severe impact on the Mississippi River. The river levels from Memphis, Tennessee, south to New Orleans are among the top 10 lowest on record. The last time the Mississippi River had lower levels was late summer into the fall of 2012.

As of the latest drought report, 62.95% of the U.S. was in a drought compared to 47.81% just a year ago. The widespread severe drought is focused in the Plains and California.

The outlook for the remainder of this month looks bleak for appreciable rainfall from the southern Mississippi Valley to the Mid-Atlantic. However, drought development appears unlikely in the D.C. region. There is a better likelihood for near to above average precipitation in the Upper Mississippi Valley to the Northwest U.S.

Here’s a look at drought conditions in the U.S. (Courtesy USGS)
Chad Merrill

Chad Merrill is a meteorologist and digital weather content producer for WTOP. Prior to joining WTOP, Chad was a meteorologist in the private industry and television. He loves to share his passion with listeners and readers and is eager to hear from anyone who has any weather questions!

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