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Posts categorized Precipitation.

Mariton: First Quarter Precipitation

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

The first quarter of the year (January – March) carried a little extra precipitation to help the deficit of 2016. January was close to average.  February was about an inch below average, and March was 2 inches above average.  In the end we received 11.98 inches of precipitation for the first quarter, compared to the average of 10.67 inches.

March had over 6 inches of precipitation thanks to a lot of rain. The snow storm mid month yielded over 2 inches of melted precipitation, which is a lot of water in a 36 hour period.  It still wasn’t the wettest March at Mariton.  In 2010, we received 7.45 inches of precipitation.  Looking back at my records, we received 3.10 inches of rain that year starting March 13 and ending March 16 (the same time frame as this year’s snow storm).  Imagine how much snow that would have yielded.

Mariton: Storm Stats

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Our most recent nor’easter (March 14 & 15) was interesting. Nor’easters are high energy lows that often tap into coastal moisture (and warmth) before merging with a colder northern low.  Like all low pressure systems they rotate counterclockwise, so the winds start off in a north easterly direction.  A nor’easter packs strong winds.  If located off shore, those winds can lead to coastal flooding as water is continually pushed on shore with no escape.  Because of the high winds and drifting, it can be difficult to estimate snow depths.  The snow can be wet or dry depending on how much warmth the system picks up while forming in the south.

I generally don’t measure snow fall depths. While it is interesting, there is so much variability that I put more faith in my rain gauge after the precipitation is melted.  On Tuesday, I was about to start plowing around 11 a.m. as I didn’t see it snowing outside the window.  When I opened to the office door I discovered a down pour of soft sleet.  It was more like rain than sleet.  It didn’t fall as crystals, but it didn’t fall as drops either.  “It must have been sleet though, because the radar and weather forecasters all said there was absolutely no rain in the area.”  Anyways this heavy precipitation fell for about an hour.  Trust me, this type of precipitation affected snow depths.

The storm was interesting from a rain gauge standpoint. From the two day storm, I recorded 2.03 inches of melted precipitation.   Two inches is A LOT of water in a day and a half.  This however came as mixed precipitation.  To put it into perspective, with colder temperatures in the upper atmosphere this could easily have yielded 20 inches of snow.  Had this been a January storm with shorter days and extremely cold temperatures, we could have seen 30 inches or more of snow.  Yet, when I ran the snow blower through the grass for a snow depth indicator I couldn’t find more than 9 – 10 inches of snow.  That is why my rain gauge tells me more than a yardstick.

If you thought it was heavy to shovel you are right.  Two inches of water on a 18″ x 12″snow shovel weighs over 15 pounds.  You can do the math on how many shovelfuls you lifted.

Mariton: 2016 Precipitation

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

As expected, we ended 2016 with a deficit in precipitation at Mariton. December came in about 1.5 inches below average.   We were already around 10 inches below average at the beginning of December, so the deficit at the end of the year was 11.37 inches.

We ended the year with 40.84 inches of precipitation. That is only a little more moisture than 1997 when I recorded 40.39 for the year.  Since the yearly average is around 52 inches, the 11.37 inch deficit is equivalent to 3 months without rain.  Of course it rained throughout the year – just less.

When looking at the chart below, remember that the average for the last 20 years is around 52 inches per year.

Mariton: November Precipitation

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Precipitation in November was slightly above average. I recorded 3.51 inches of rain (3.29” average).  This is the first time I have had above average precipitation since July.  The weather system that visited the last two days of November gave us about 2.5 inches of rainfall, otherwise we would have seen another deficit month.  For perspective, my November records show a low of 0.92 inches (2012) and a high 5.76 inches (2004).  November doesn’t have the range of variation that other months have.

We are still about 10 inches behind my running average for the year. If (and that is a big IF this year) we get the average 4 inches of precipitation in December, we will wind up with around 42 inches of precipitation for the year.  That is within the spread of annual rainfall over the years, but well below the average 52 inches per year.

So what? I know a few people that are having issues with their wells.  Reservoirs are particularly low this year.  There are things that we can do to conserve water during these dry periods.  During winter, we aren’t watering gardens and using the outside faucets, so we have this illusion that we are saving a lot of water.  One of the easiest ways to conserve water is to run your washing machine only with a full load of clothes.  The same is true for the dishwasher.  I know it is tougher during the winter to take short showers, but it helps conserve your finite water supply.   Indoor plants can be watered with collected rainfall or recycled water.  (Hint:  pour half-full glasses of water and ice into a watering can by the sink instead of down the drain.)   We need to continue to conserve water until the weather patterns change and we start receiving more precipitation.

Mariton: Another Dry Month

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

August was yet another dry month this year. At Mariton, I recorded 2.02 inches of rain for the month.  The average is 4.44 inches.   Our total for the year to date is 29.96 inches, and the average for the same period is 34.70.

It is fascinating looking at my spread sheet of 20 years of data. During that time there were 6 Augusts when the rainfall fell below 3 inches:  2.70 (2014), 1.42 (2010), 2.08 (2008), 2.54 (2006), 2.23 (2002), 2.67 (1998).  With all of those dry years it is a wonder that my average for August is as high a 4.44 inches.  Again looking at the spread sheet, there are two outliers that drive the average upwards.  In 2011 Irene and several thunderstorms brought Mariton 15.45 inches of rain.  In 2009, 11.31 inches fell during the month (no tropical storms that year just a period of wet weather).

Tropical weather systems are getting active right now. We could use some extra rain, but we need to be careful what we wish for.

Mariton: July Showers

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

The yearly precipitation deficit was drawn down during July at Mariton. I recorded 8.80 inches of rain for July.  The average for the month is 5.61.  Although 9 inches is a lot of rain for a month, it is not the wettest July.  In 2004, we received 12.27” at Mariton.  I have written before that July can be the driest month (0.40” in 1999), or the wettest.  It just depends on where thunderstorms dump rain, and if a tropical system moves up the coast.

Mariton’s tally for the year is now 27.94 inches, and the average for this point is 30.26”. We were lucky to receive some showers during the month that other areas did not receive.  A drought watch has been declared for the area.  It seems a little strange after all the rain last week, but overall we are in a dry weather pattern and the precipitation deficit could increase again.

Mariton: We Need More Rain

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

We are dry (even though it rained during the night).  The month of May was close to average, but both April and June were well below the average here at Mariton.  For the first half of 2016 I recorded 19.14 inches of precipitation at Mariton.  That compares to 24.65 inches, which is the average amount of precipitation I would expect for the same time period.  So, we have received only five months worth of rain through the first six months of the year.

On average, we receive about 52 inches of precipitation a year. So, roughly we should receive an inch of rain a week, or about 4 ¼ inches a month.  That is on average.  When we have heavy thunderstorms in months like July, it is common to have weeks with over an inch of rain.  Likewise, the tropics can get active and bring systems to our region that deposit huge amounts of rain.  Still, an inch a week is a good rule of thumb if you are keeping track.

Mariton: First Quarter Precipitation

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

The first quarter is over and we ended on a dry note at Mariton. January was about ½ an inch above average, and February was about 1.5 inches wetter than average.  March, however, was very dry with only 1.28 inches of precipitation, almost 3 inches below average.  So, precipitation ended up at 9.65” for the quarter (compared to 10.68” average).

The beginning of April is fairly wet.  That is good for suppressing wild fires.  It is a tough for NLT’s crew to conduct Controlled Fires for ecological purposes on various preserves.  Things are greening up very quickly and the window is quickly closing on our schedule of fires.

Mariton: 2015 Precipitation

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

At the end of the year, Mariton ended up with 49.34 inches of precipitation. The average from my data collection is 52.80″, so we are about 3.5 inches below average.  That isn’t cause for concern.  My data set ranges from 40.39” – 80.37” for annual totals.  There are eight years with less than 50.00” of precipitation.  In fact, from 1997 through 2002 every year’s precipitation was below 47.00”.  As recently as 2012, we only had 42.81” of precipitation for the entire year.

December really helped out the year’s total. We ended the month with 4.85”  (3.42” is average).  December was one of a handful of months that registered above average rainfall.  You may recall that the end of the year was little dreary.  I had measureable precipitation for 10 straight days at the end of December.

It will be interesting to see how el nino affects the coming year’s precipitation.  Both years of 1997-1998  (a very strong el nino) were well below average at Mariton.  For 2002-2003 (a moderate el nino), 2002 was dry and 2003 was really wet.  Both years of 2009-2010 (another moderate el nino) were pretty close to average.

Mariton: Precipitation So Far…

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.

The talk this spring has been about the weather.  May was dry; June was wet.  When it was all added up, Mariton ended the first half of the year close to average.   We received 24.65 inches of precipitation during the first six months.  I normally say that we should expect to receive close to average precipitation during a six or twelve month period, but this year we are only 0.10” off of the average.  Given the extremes this year, even I was a little surprised by how close we were to average at this point.


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