Drought persisting across Maryland despite recent rain

A burst of wet weather to end November did not ease a drought that continues to develop across Maryland.

About 42 percent of the state is in a moderate drought, according to an update posted Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor.


The drought stretches from Prince George's County to the south, Washington County to the west and Cecil County to the east. That includes Baltimore City, all of Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties and the northern half of Anne Arundel County.

Most of Western Maryland and parts of Southern Maryland and the upper Eastern Shore are meanwhile considered "abnormally dry," according to the drought monitor, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More than an inch of rain fell in the final two days of November, but the rain gauge at Baltimore's point of record still ended last month nearly 2 inches short of its normal precipitation total.

Another inch of rain fell Monday and Tuesday, so that could help moderate conditions in the drought monitor's next update, next week.

Precipitation so far this year at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is running about an inch below normal.

While that deficit appears relatively small, it is noteworthy because it has developed rapidly over the past few months. Rainfall was several inches above normal for the year as recently as late September.

An intense drought across the Southeast has eased slightly but remains a concern as it helps fuel wildfires.

About 14 percent of the country -- mostly in Alabama, Georgia and California -- is experiencing drought considered "severe," "extreme" or "exceptional," according to the drought monitor. That is down from 17 percent two weeks ago.

When looking back six months, large parts of the South have seen only 50 percent to 70 percent of their normal rainfall for the period.

Recent heavy rains there have helped only slightly, because they fell so intensely the moisture could not easily be absorbed into the ground, meteorologists said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.