Drought warning issued across Central Maryland

Central Maryland is under a drought warning, with unusually dry conditions already present across most of the state.

The Maryland Department of the Environment issued the warning Thursday, saying it will begin more closely monitoring water supply conditions for those who rely on wells.


The warning covers Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties in areas that aren't served by public water and sewer pipes.

The Eastern Shore is meanwhile under a drought watch.

Drought conditions have already developed across most of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Seventy percent of the state -- all of it but Western Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore -- is in at least a "moderate" drought under the monitor's definitions.

Most of Howard and Montgomery counties and part of Prince George's County are experiencing "severe" drought, according to the monitor.

Precipitation is running as much as a foot below normal along the Interstate 95 corridor over the past six months, according to National Weather Service data. Most of the state has received between 50 percent and 75 percent of normal precipitation since Oct. 1.

The drought warning does not cover areas served by Baltimore City water and by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

Baltimore's Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy reservoirs are at about 91 percent of capacity, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. WSSC's Triadelphia and Duckett reservoirs are at 49 percent of capacity.