Can you remember the last time we had a solid rainy day? Me neither... well, at least without looking I couldn't. It's been weeks since our last widespread rainfall. In fact, we have seen abnormally dry conditions across New England for a few months now. To date, the Burlington area records show a precipitation deficit of about 2.5" for the year. So far, the area has 3.86", while average is closer to 6.39". While we did see some rain today, it was only a few hundredths of an inch, not enough to really put a dent in our deficit.
The drought monitor around New England shows abnormally dry conditions in much of northern New England, with moderate drought conditions now in parts of southern New England.
After a lack luster winter, there are ups and downs to this....
First the ups!
Consider this... last year, we had a very snowy winter, followed by a very rainy spring. This led to historic flooding on several area rivers and also Lake Champlain. This year, with minimal rainfall, there is near zero chance of having flooding along the Lake (unless some outrageously heavy rainfall lasts for days on end... but we would need A LOT of rain to do that).
And the down sides...
As we have seen very dry conditions, this has led to high fire risk during our dry and breezy days. If the dry grasses and brush catch fire, fanning winds can cause any fire to quickly spread. We saw at least 2 brush fires since yesterday in Vermont. The highest risk of wildfire occurs particularly during the daytime hours when the relative humidity is low, and the winds pick up with some daytime atmospheric mixing. Thursday's fire threat should be lower than today with a slightly higher average relative humidity (around 40%). Friday should dry out again with RH values down to about 20-30%. There may be a red flag warning issued again by the National Weather Service on Friday due to the dry, and still gusty conditions. Remember, a red flag warning is the term the NWS uses to highlight the high risk of fire danger (it doesn't necessarily mean that fires WILL occur, it just means the risk of fires spreading quickly is high).