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January 22, 2010

Glug... Wet weather swamping records

 USGS

We already know that December brought Baltimore it's biggest December snowfall (Dec. 18-19), and it's snowiest and wettest December on record. Now the U.S. Geological Survey is adding to the most impressive statistics that piled up during 2009.

The year ended with 55.57 inches of precipitation at BWI, making it the 6th wettest year since record-keeping began there in 1871. The record is 62.66 inches, set in 2003.

December streamflow in Maryland was above normal in 90 percent of the USGS monitoring stations. Seven rivers and creeks struck new monthly mean streamflow records, including the Chicamacomico, Choptank, Nanticoke, Nassawango, Piscataway, St. Clements and St. Jones.

The new December record on the Nanticoke (graph above) broke one that had stood since 1948. And it marked the second straight month of record streamflow there after five months of increasingly high rates.

Groundwater levels have also been responding to the wet weather.  Levels in 81 percent of the USGS monitoring wells were above normal. Five set new records for December, all in Southern Maryland or on the Eastern Shore, including Kent County, Del., Somerset, Charles, Queen Anne's and Wicomico counties in Maryland.

The well in Kent County, Del. (graph below) topped records for the second-straight month, topping the 1967 record by four feet.

The reservoirs that serve Washington and Baltimore are in good shape, of course. But there is one curiosity: Liberty Reservoir stands at just 85 percent of capacity, according to the USGS. Not sure yet what's up with that, but we're trying to get an answer. Some sort of maintenance work, perhaps. Or maybe all these water main breaks have drained it. We'll see. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Kurt Kocher, at the city Department of Public Works, says the USGS figure on Liberty Reservoir is incorrect. "The reservoir has been full since September." he said.

USGS 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:48 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Comments

I figured something was fishy about that 85% figure, thanks for checking it out.

Cheers - good article - personally I am tired of the wet weather - most parents with teen/early 20's kids that have to travel on the roads to spend a weekend home from college pretty much despise this stuff as it only adds to our own worries and our own traffic nightmares getting to and from work.....that said...I guarantee the 1st time we go 10 days without rain once the calendar officially hits spring we will see lots of articles and discussion about how dry it is, how awful it is, and how desparate we are for rain.

Keep up the nice work.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
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