Showers and thunderstorms during the past week have ended, for now, the agricultural drought for Baltimore and counties surrounding the Upper Chesapeake Bay. But moderate drought (tan on the map) persists this week in parts of Western Maryland, Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore.
BWI-Marshall Airport recorded more than 2 inches of rain between July 13, when data for last week's Drought Monitor map was gathered, and July 20, when this week's map was compiled.
In that time span, the northeast section of Maryland, from Cecil County to eastern Carroll County, south to northern Arundel and Prince George's counties returned to normal soil moisture conditions. But most of Western Maryland remains abnormally dry, and moderate drought persists in Washington County and western Frederick and Montgomery counties.
Moderate drought - defined by measurements of rainfall, streamflow, soil moisture and plant health - also remains in Southern Maryland and the Lower eastern Shore, although the rains have erased the severe drought conditions that had been focused in Calvert County.
Overall, the portion of the state in moderate drought has fallen from 60 percent to 34 percent over the past week. The portion with normal conditions grew from 14 percent to 44 percent. And the portion rated "abnormally dry" decreased from 85 percent to 56 percent.
How long the good news will persist remains unknown. Eric the Red, a professional meteorologist from Baltimore, says we're on the bubble:
"Unfortunately, our precipitation prospects are not real good," he said. "Won't take much to push the entire region right bqack into drought at the rate things are going."
(SUN PHOTO: Jed Kirschbaum, July 2010)