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Despite Lack of Rain October Water Conditions near Normal

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

Wendy McPherson (
Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Water Science Center
5522 Research Park Drive
Baltimore, MD 21228
FAX: (443)498-5510

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Updated: November 7, 2000

Despite the lack of rain, many of the streamflow and Groundwater levels in the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. region were normal for October, according to hydrologists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Baltimore, Maryland. Monthly streamflow for several key sites ranged from 79 to 276 percent of the long-term average discharge. However, streamflow levels were dropping as the month wore on and continue to do so.

Average streamflow into the Chesapeake Bay was 17.7 billion gallons per day (bgd), which is 65 percent of the long-term average for October. The Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers provided 66 percent of the total streamflow to the Chesapeake Bay, discharging 8.0 bgd and 3.54 bgd, respectively. Streamflow at the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. averaged 2.6 bgd, which is 27 percent above normal for October.

Groundwater levels decreased in October, although remaining in the normal range in most of Maryland and Delaware. Monthly updates of Groundwater conditions for 32 key observation wells that encompass all counties of Maryland and Delaware can be found at Water storage in the Baltimore reservoir system increased during October to 64.27 billion gallons (85 percent of capacity).

The National Weather Service reported that less than one-tenth of an inch of rain fell at BWI airport during October, compared to a normal of 2.98 inches. This was the third-driest month since record keeping began in Baltimore in 1871. However, due to a relatively wet September, with rainfall more than 2 inches above normal, October began with normal to above-normal hydrologic conditions. Combined with a seasonal decrease in water consumption by vegetation, favorable hydrologic conditions persisted throughout October, and any potential impacts of the lack of current rainfall have not yet been observed.

As the Nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation and the economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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