Water down: Lots of rain but still below average
After a dry winter that brought less than half the average precipitation, fears of a drought à la 2002 have been averted by a very wet spring and what's been, to this point, a wetter than average summer season, according to state climatologist Jerry Stenger.
Those spring showers "made nothing short of a huge and very welcome difference," Stenger says, noting that 17 inches fell between late March and late June, bringing groundwater levels up from "disturbingly low" to the normal range throughout most of the area.
With June bringing 90 percent the average precipitation and a soggy, thunderstormy July hitting 150 percent of average rainfall at mid-month– measured at the McCormick Observatory– Stenger says the Charlottesville area ground water is in good shape and overall rainfall for the year has rebounded to reach 10 percent above average.
That's not the case in other places around the state, where rainfall hasn't been so plentiful.
In the Tidewater area, for instance, certain localities have already implemented water use restrictions to stave off supply problems, Stenger says, noting they're now "at the mercy of hit or miss thunderstorms."
But if this area's groundwater's in good shape, there are a few downsides to the ample rainfall.
"Lawns are overgrowing with reckless abandon, and with plenty of areas that don't dry out, mold spores are having a field day," says Stenger, suggesting that rain may actually be something to sneeze at.
"For those of us with allergy problems," Stenger says, "there is a virtual smorgasbord of goodies to attack our sinuses."