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Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Posted by jenny_in_SE_PA 6b/7a Sunset 32 (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 9, 02 at 13:09

As of Friday, Sept. 5, our Governor added Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Dauphin, & Perry Counties back into the severest level of Drought status - "Drought Emergency". We had been in that status from February until ~June when it was amended to take us to the middle "Drought Warning" level after a somewhat rainy May. But the latest rainfalls weren't as great as they were expected to be (much of it benefitting south of us in Maryland). We are still about 12" off from our yearly normal and there has been an accumulated deficit over several years. Thus the bump back to the Emergency again. Interestingly one "Hurricaine Floyd"-equivalent this fall could erase this year's deficit, but not the overall.

Sad that much of the news media around here didn't bother to mention it over the weekend.

Looks like we're back in the Red Zone again. :-(

For myself, knowing that it has been dry (not counting some of the rains we got over the past couple weeks which apparently only amounted to maybe 1.5" "officially"), I have continued to collect AC drip water to irrigate with and in a way, it was much easier to do that then pull out the hose or manually fill watering cans.

Anyone in the immediate 5-county area wanna pipe in regarding what you have been doing? Especially those in the counties that fell out and were put back in this highest status?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

  • Posted by HollyK Zone 6B, PA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 11, 02 at 16:01

I had no idea - why don't they tell us these things?

(We're in Bucks... thanks for letting us know!)


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

hey Jenny... I read that in the Inq. but did not see on tv, but I don't watch much tv news anyhow. Drought news doesn't get ratings either. I'm sick of the tv forecasters plastering smiles on and spouting "there's plenty of abundant sunshine out there" - makes me want to scream.

Our family of 4 are using the dishwasher every other day, flush every third time, yuk, take SHORT showers, and use new 1-1/2 year maytag front load washer that uses about 2/3 less water than traditional spin type, all this so I can at least give some water to 4 new trees planted this past spring. I am so praying for a hurricane, or tropical storm, darn you Gustav, sorry - low lying creek area dwellers!! - that it's hard to concentrate on anything outside without getting depressed :-(
We're on well water, and just hoping for replenishment, while buying paper cups, plates, bowls, so we don't have to waste water washing too many dishes. Aghhh


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Holly - it's a shame. :-\

paula - usually KYW would have some brief mention but they obviously had Iraq on the mind instead... :-\ And Gustav did a number on my plants with its winds but the rains would have been helpful. There is a Tropical Depression down in the Gulf that they said might have some influence up here, maybe Sunday night (pumping moisture into the next cold front).

What is sad is obviously the city of Phila. hasn't even heard yet either. The fountains downtown have been running full blast all week and I know that is forbidden by this latest emergency declaration. In the past, the city was pretty quick to comply and those fountains were turned off the same day.

Sigh...


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

I read the fountains were going to be turned off in honor of 9/11 - I think they're going to remain off .. don't know

BUT --- COME ON HANNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Thanks Jenny,

I didn't know either.

Incidentally, anyone going to the Philadelphia Harvest Show this weekend? They're doing a thing on the drought on Sunday, I think.

CarrieB

Here is a link that might be useful: Phila. Harvest Show


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

paula - I drive up and down the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philly to and from work everyday and not a fountain was turned off - even on 9/11!!! And they were still going on 9/12 too. :-( I was off work Friday (I think I have tonsilitis...ugh!) so I'm not sure if they were off then. I think the Fairmount Park people who maintain them, really goofed!

Carrie - I'm going to try to get there this weekend depending on how I feel - probably Sunday, although they are calling for rain then... But they usually have big tents up anyway. My mom wanted to go. I'll try to check out the info on the drought if I get there...


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jenny... just "shows to go ya" - what you read must be taken with a grain of salt! I can't believe they're not turning off the fountains.... political decision ?


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The big water pond (watever it's called) at the harvest show was empty. Not to pretty, but I'm glad they respected the drought. On the other hand, I bought a bottle of ice tea while I was there, and when I went to get rid of the glass bottle, there was not a recycling receptacle to be found. Grrrrrr.


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I did manage to make it to the Show on Sunday and noticed the reflecting pool empty (my mother sortof complained but I told her why). Paula - I don't think the fountain thing was a political decision but I really do think it was the city not being made aware by the State (or even the news media) about the reinstatement of the restrictions. The fact that even as late as today, the city had the water trucks out washing the streets downtown which I believe is a prohibited practice (not that I mind one bit because they need it), is something that seems to indicate a lack of communication and awareness... Up until June when the mandatory restrictions were briefly lifted, there was no street-washing, no sidewalk washing, no public fountains, etc. Oh well...


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Well, here we are again,a week later, awaiting another one, maybe maybe Isadore!? My husband remarked this evening, well are you ready to suck up water in the basement like we had to with Floyd, and I said, ha, bring it on!! Put the coffee on , I'll volunteer!

I think a strongly worded reminder is in order to the Mayor about the fountains. The recent greening up , belies the real situation around here, and people are fooled into false sense of security with that and also those fountains being on, "oh, everything if fine", they think. If they were off, it would be a daily reminder to people, oh yes, I need to conserve water.
duh!


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Very true. I do know that I drive by the Wissahickon Creek every work day to and from work and for me to see geese standing in barely 1" - 2" of water in the middle of the creek at a spot right before it empties into the Schulkyll River (I had never seen geese at that location before), then you know it's bad.


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Wow. It looks like the rain originally forecast in our area to come with the now-passing Cold Front, broke up and fizzled over the Appalachians as usual, giving us nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.


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yup, same old- same old, lookin' good coming past Pittsburgh, hit the mountains- ("Hi Bermuda high") and wam - it's history. All the while, tv weather forecasters - "another beautiful day", "it'll improve later this morning when the clouds burn off". "sunshine will return later today" grrrrrrrr I say we tie them to a tree that's dying from thirst, see if it's still a beautiful day! Are we getting depressed yet?


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It does seem strange to be rooting hopefully for every hurricane to come our way. As I drive to work I pass "Lakeview Drive" with a view of the dried weed-clogged lake bed in the background. Finally stole some water off of the tap to give to an old tree on the back of the property line that was looking like giving up--I'm hoping it's just going into an early leaf drop. A proposed moratorium on construction until the drought is over is being shot down as illegal in Pennsylvania, unless laws are changed. Meanwhile farmland is disappearing under the construction of new homes and businesses, the latter of which frequently go out of business in a few years. Newer businesses never seem to be interested in using the same buildings, but always seem to prefer spreading themselves out onto yet more farmland. Of course some farmland gets to stay that way for the factory farms, a new one of which was just approved around here despite strenuous objections from surrounding landowners worried about well levels, amongst other things. (Somehow 3000 pigs are going to be fit into a 1800 foot structure, unless I've misunderstood somehow, and I can't bear to think about the tortuous conditions that that will involve.)

Depressing...


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Hello,
I just found this drought list and I'm catching up. I'm also in the Philly area, and I got the news of the drought emergency by going to the PA DEP web site, and getting on their e-mail list. They send e-mails daily to let you know about any environmental current events for the state. I don't usually catch the local TV news, and only read the Sunday Inquirer, so I was concerned that I might miss it if the restrictions changed. Then I find out that people who do follow the news didn't hear about the emergency! Here's the website:

Here is a link that might be useful: PA DEP


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TamJP - The links I have in my original post are from that site... I normally check the state's Drought information pages on my own which is how I found out about it. :-)


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Maybe it's just me, but does anyone else feel that drought is not getting enough exposure - on TV, newspaper, radio....
It seems to me there is not enough being done to remind people to cut their use. I hear the TV forecasters refer to it only occasionally, and the daily Inquirer has a mention, on page 3 or further back, about every month.
Is it serious, or not? I had to dig off that PA DEP home page to get to the drought status. You'd think it would be blaring on the front page. When will we be in trouble - tommorrow, next week, next 6 mos? It's so vague.


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Paula - that is so true... And now that it is fall and the temps are cooler, I guess they figure that this justifies no mention at all. :-\

Well at least we are finally due for some rain the next day or so... Let's see how much we can eek out of this...


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Yes, Jenny... like I posted earlier, with the heat gone, I think people tend to think that the problem is not there, because there's no heat to remind them, plus the surface of the soil is wet, but the water table is unchanged! I can't stand it when I hear it said on radio/tv etc. "the rain shouldn't be a problem for the weekend, it'll clear outa here tonight" and other phrases to that effect, God forbid we should have to put up with a "dreary day" for too long. Jeez, the mentality.
RAIN is here! Can't wait to check the gauge.........


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Gosh - since Sept. 2001, "dreary days" have been few and far between, so I don't know what they have been complaining about! Besides, I've always loved a good cloudy/rainy day or two every once in awhile. Slows everyone down from their overly hectic pace and the plants love it!

By the way, we have had a nice light rain steadily since last night. Actually, this is a good way to "pre-wet" the soil in preparation for a forecast heavier round. Hopefully the heavier stuff will have a better chance to soak in and maybe even make it to the water table and not run off...


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Love it!!!!!!!! Rain gauge has over an inch on it so far since last night. Nice and slow and steady, Perfect. Oh could we see a change in the weather patterns of the past year? I hope so. Maybe I could actually take a bath in the distant future, instead of always a 2 minute shower.


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Oh wonderful wonderful rain!!! Slow, steady, persistant!! It has been a LONG time!

I think an El Nino influence will be coming into play... although whenever I've seen El Nino trends described, they focus on the SE and West coast so I'm never sure how we get impacted. I think we get more normal precipitation and a warmer winter, which is fine with me... ;-)


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Wow... Now here is something I haven't seen for awhile... We're under a flood watch as of ~11am today and in effect until at least 5am tomorrow. Can you believe it? LOL


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Rain gauge here after all done - 4 INCHES!! WHAHOOOOOOOOOO


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I think we got about 3" here! Almost a month's worth! YAY!!!


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Jenny, you and I are the only ones checking in lately.....


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

well, here in MD, we may have gotten 3-4 inches over the last couple days, but it sure doesn't look it: just drove over the patuxent today--it's about three feet wide. there's grass growing in rock creek up here. i don't know where all the rain is going.... hopefully into ppl's wells. but we're still 8 inches under for the month, and who knows how many feet under for the year. :(


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janet a , what's "patuxent" - a river? Thankfully practically all that rain soaked into the soil, instead of running off. And , if the weather forecast holds, this a.m. they said we could get another 1" Wednesday.... it's coming from the South ,instead of the West, just like last week, hope it holds up!


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Yep. Sounds like a Nor'easter is a-brewin'!!!!


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yep, i could be happy with a nor'easter. :)

yes, the patuxent is the "river" that separates howard and montgomery* counties; normaly navigable by canoe and kayak, and now down to an ambulatory puddle. haven't even seen any waterbirds there for a while now. :(

* currently famous for the sniper. >:(


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Oh boy, AOL weather: Wednesday- flood watch!


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So far we've gotten about 1/3rd of an inch as of this posting, but the heaviest rain is supposedly yet to come. The poor Wissahickon Creek and the water table needs that water!!!


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I just checked radar and the old weather forecasting game seems to have gone "south" again. The heaviest is west of here,and the flood watch is off. I heard once how the lay of the land around here influences rain/snow systems, causes systems to miss us, more than hit us. Don't know all that technical jargon, but essentially this is what happens.


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Yup. That's what happens to us being in a valley. The "Delaware Valley"... and stuff diverts all around us... I think that if this Nor'easter had been a little further east out to sea, we would have gotten alot more out of it. It has tracked fairly close to the coast and thus most of the rain seems to have fallen west of us. But I guess this is better than nothing!


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Well looks like the "official" tally is in for Philly at only 6/10ths of an inch for yesterday... :-(

But every little bit helps I guess!


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I just tallied up from 9/26, we've gotten 8" here, including Wednesday's addition of 1-1/8" !
I hope everyone else in the country can see some normalcy return to their rainfall, now I feel guilty.


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Looks like we might be going into a more continuous rain pattern based on the weather forecasts of late... There is another nor'easter apparently due to form nearby tonight and into tomorrow although as of the time of this post, I'm not seeing anything that looks like that...

One thing I did notice that I hadn't seen before on the DEP Drought site was this refusal to give Phila. an exemption from the Drought Emergency restrictions. Now apparently, this press release (which was dated Sept. 13, 8 days after the initial declaration) wasn't up on the site for some time after the Sept. 5 Declaration press release, so I'm just finding it now... But I can't believe that the Water Dept. even bothered.... Although I am sure that they appeal restrictions routinely. Finding out that they even did this really made me hot this morning... Maybe that's why the fountains and everything else were still going Sept. 11. :-\


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At the risk of backlash, I'll bet it's because of those unions there.
We got an inch from the rain last night!


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

You know it's sad that the very reason for this thread was because I had stumbled upon the fact that 5 counties in SE PA had been put back under a "Drought Emergency" in early September.... Yet there was little or no news report about this...

NOW, suddenly there's a big hoopla, top story and whatnot, about the Governor's declaration that changes the status from "Emergency" to "Warning". But this does not mean that we're out of the woods. Out of the woods would be no Drought designation at all...

Anyway - here is the latest declaration as of 11/7/02.

Here is the latest map.

Note to residents of Delaware, Chester, and Cumberland Counties - you are still in a "Drought Emergency". There are 8 counties in SE PA in a "Warning" and 14 counties around the state under a "Watch". The rest of the state has been declared as having had normal precipitation.

The recent rains from several nor'easters in October and November, have been beneficial to many areas, but the deficit has not gone away.


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Yes, wish they would downplay it, and call it as it correctly is- ...." a little improvement folks, keep on conserving until further notice."


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Well - here's an update about what's happening around our area. Apparently yet another media-ignored (I saw it today in a story from weather.com) Drought update occurred on December 19 for the state of Pennsylvania. Looks like the Drought Warning has been completely lifted and we skipped over Drought Watch back to "Normal". Here is the latest map and here is the latest press release. There are currently 13 out of 67 counties under "Drought Watch" (the lowest designation) and the rest of the state is "Normal".

The past month has had quite a bit of precipitation, with weekly and sometimes twice-weekly Nor'easters, with plenty of rain, and of late, snow. I think that big snow of Dec. 5 seemed to cap it for the immediate 5-county area and this last storm, from Dec. 24 - 25, , although resulting in only a few inches of snow in SE PA, did give us quite a bit of rain during the peak of it. I think that in itself, may have been enough to possibly trigger a future "Normal" status for places like Delaware, Berks, and possibly as far west as Lancaster & York Counties. Even recent lake effects since the last declaration, might have helped in Erie, but we'll see.

Will continue to monitor as the winter goes on.


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Thanks Jenny!! Was going to check it soon, and you answered my questions! I really wonder how the rest of the winter will go, storm wise, we do seem to be on the nor'easter track. Shore people hold your breath.


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The article on weather.com was the clearest that I have seen regarding how El Nino would affect us - ie., that higher potential for more storms tracking up the coast due to the southern branch of the jetstream. Other sources indicated that during El Nino, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas have a 1/3rd chance of above normal temperatures/precipitation, a 1/3rd chance for normal, and 1/3rd chance for below normal... How vague... But I guess if you look back on previous El Nino years over the past 25 or so years with El Nino, ie., '76 - '78, '82 - '83, '91 - '94, you sortof see that mix, with most of those years around normal/above normal, but a year in each grouping where there was way below normal temps (eg., '77, '82, '94) but higher precipitation.


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I can't remember all those years, mostly though, the winter of '77/'78, when we moved in. We had plenty of snow.
'77 was particularly cold. Then of course, who can forget '96. And, in '77/'78 the West was severely dry, like it is again now.
Today's paper talks of how California will have an additional 13% cut off of 2003's colorado river water, by the Interior Dept. It seems other surrounding states were not using the full amount they were entitled, but increasing population in the surrounding states is putting pressure on CA to conserve.
See, someday future wars will be fought over water, if people don't get their act together....


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It's a shame that we live on a planet that is 70% water and we still don't have enough to drink.


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Another update was just released on Jan. 8. All the rains and snows of December added up enough to take Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Delaware, Lancaster, and York counties off the "Watch" list and back to "Normal" status!

The current map.

It's now down to the 7 counties on the PA/OH border that are left in a "Watch". I think if the lake effect kicks in again (due to happen over the weekend), the NW counties should begin to get some relief! Now to get the SW & Central some much-needed precip.


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I read back all the way to the beginning of this thread; isn't is amazing what a difference since 9/9, only slightly over 4 months ago! We still try to conserve, but we're back to flushing after the first time thank you.


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

Ah yes Paula. What a difference a "wet" fall makes. I think this past year of drought has at least taught me some "water-conserving behavior" that is good to do as normal practice anyway.


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Jenny - R U OK?

Jenny, I've missed you online. Are you OK? I hope you are well. Please send an email to let me know that you are well. Happy New Year. Terry


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RE: Holy Cow! Philly in Drought Emergency Again!

LOL Terry - I popped into this forum just for a laugh since we are now probably WAY over with the water now and it just won't stop. I'm still around. :-) Will try to pop in more often now that spring is trying to get here. Hope to see you in another forum!


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