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Don Paul: There's a nuisance rain shortfall in WNY, but it's a growing crisis out west

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11.06.2021

In this Aug. 13, 2020, file photo, a bathtub ring of light minerals delineates the high water mark on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Boulder City, Nev. A key reservoir on the Colorado River is expected to match its record low level on Thursday, June 10, 2021. The dropping surface elevation of Lake Mead along the Arizona-Nevada border is the another sign of the drought's grip on the region.

Excepting some torrential deluges Wednesday in the Southern Tier, the majority of Western New York is coming up short on yearly rainfall. Buffalo is running about a third below average, which is a large anomaly. Even so, while much of Western New York is "abnormally dry," we are not categorized as being in a drought status.

It appears rain will be in short supply over the next week. While a few spotty showers will be possible for a small part of Saturday afternoon, and again early Sunday, when all is said and done there will be little to show in the way of needed rain by next Friday.

At this time of the growing season, just .1-.5 inch of rain in a week will not be of much help. Gardeners will need to keep watering, and growers may have to consider some irrigation. Streamflow volume is also very low. At least cooler temperatures next week will slow the rate of evaporation from plants and soil. The midsummer heat will be in retreat, with some moderation likely returning the following week, while the more extreme heat remains farther west.

The extent of drought is an entirely different story in the western states. Nearly 100% of California is in at least severe drought status and 74% of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought. Conditions are inevitably worsening with each passing week.

The flood threat shifts to the East Coast as we monitor storms in the Midwest and hot, fire weather in the........

© The Buffalo News


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