Into every life some rain must fall, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has lifted a drought watch declaration for for 15 Pennsylvania counties, including Warren. Following the move, no commonwealth counties remain under a drought designation.
While drought indicators still haven't reached "normal" levels, according to a DEP press release dated Aug. 31, increased rainfall has helped.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), rainfall over the last thirty days has only been between 50 and 95 percent of normal precipitation levels in the county, receiving approximately two to four inches of rain. Rainfall remains at only 75 to 95 percent of normal in the last year. NOAA's drought outlook does not predict drought conditions to re-emerge.
Despite this, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) lists surface water levels as being at a "watch" level, just one level below normal, an improvement from when the drought designation was announced July 19. At that time, surface water was at emergency levels.
Measures of precipitation and groundwater levels remain unchanged at warning and normal levels respectively.
"Rainfall in the last six weeks helped out the situation immensely in these counties," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said in Friday's release. "We've seen improved stream-flows and soil moisture, and while some groundwater levels are still below normal, we feel confident that conditions will continue to improve."
As of Aug. 28, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) drought monitoring site lists the county as being in "abnormally dry" condition, but not at drought level.
According to the DEP press release, the designation stemmed from, "below-normal rainfall that resulted in low stream-flow conditions, decreased groundwater levels and precipitation deficits of up to five-and-a-half inches."
Stream-flow is still listed as being below normal for much of Warren County, according to the USGS.
"DEP is constantly monitoring drought conditions throughout the state," DEP Press aide Amanda Witman said. "Even though we've observed steady improvement in western Pennsylvania there are still some areas where we would like to see more improvement. This is an issue that is ongoing, due to the unpredictable and volatile nature of weather patterns, which largely affect the four drought indicators: precipitation, surface water, soil moisture and groundwater."
According to Friday's DEP release, the Pennsylvania Drought Task Force, which representatives of state agencies dealing with drought, will continue to monitor the situation.