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    Drought looms for Ohio Valley to Northeast as rainfall deficit grows

    By Jordan Root, AccuWeather meteorologist
    October 04, 2017, 12:28:09 AM EDT

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    A persistently dry end to summer and start to fall has put some areas on the cusp of a drought across the Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

    “While most places east of the Mississippi River have yet to develop official drought conditions, with the exception to eastern Maine, the area has had hardly any precipitation since early September,” AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

    Many cities are running a few inches below normal in terms of rainfall since Aug. 1. Some of the major cities include Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Syracuse, New York and Providence, Rhode Island. This deficit will grow even more through the first week of October.

    rain deficits 9/30

    Some areas are considered to be abnormally dry or in moderate drought at this time, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

    Appreciable rain will be tough to find across much of the eastern U.S. through midweek. For some areas, that may be the case through the entire week.

    An area of high pressure, which was in place across the eastern U.S. this past week, will build back in for the start of October.

    A high pressure area is a large batch of slinking, dry air that rotates clockwise. When this high pressure area extends through many layers of the atmosphere, like the situation now, it is very difficult for storms to move through with rain.

    “We see minimal rain chances to start October, especially in the mid-Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley, and mid-Atlantic,” Pastelok said.

    ne dry spell

    Some rain will fall along the leading edge of cool air advancing from the Midwest to the Northeast during the second half of the week. However, this rain will have a tough time spreading south and east and may fizzle as it attempts to do so. The best chance for rain will be across the Midwest and Great Lakes.

    While any rainfall this week will be welcomed, it will not be enough to cover the deficit for most places. It will likely take several periods of steadier rain to achieve that.

    The lack of rainfall has put a strain on community and household water systems with some municipalities asking residents to monitor water usage. Households that utilize underground wells for their water will want to conserve as water levels will likely continue to lower.

    In order to conserve water, take short showers and don't let the water run while brushing your teeth. Dishwashers should only be run when they are fully loaded. Also, those who have sprinkler systems should water their lawn in the morning and evening and adjust them as needed so only the lawn is watered.

    "On average, in about a month, most lawns tend to go dormant as colder weather arrives," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    "Most lawns will simply enter dormancy earlier than usual in this case. So watering lawns at this stage is just postponing the inevitable."

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    Farmers and gardeners are also feeling the effects of the dry spell. Some of the apple crop is ripening earlier and quicker, which is shortening the time for the fruit to be harvested.

    Fall foliage is also taking a hit amid the dry stretch. Foliage on trees stressed by the dryness are dull and leaves are falling earlier than average.

    Not only will this disappoint leaf-peepers, but it also will provide dry fuel for wildfires. Hikers and campers are urged to use caution and to heed local burn bans.

    Warmer air will accompany the dry weather over the next few days.

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