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Officials Say Southeastern Pa. Has Not Yet Reached Drought Stage

(A brown lawn is a sign -- albeit not an official one -- of near-drought conditions.  File photo)

(A brown lawn is a sign — albeit not an official one — of near-drought conditions. File photo)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As large sections of the country suffer in drought, Southeastern Pennsylvania has been dry, too, but has not crossed the drought threshold.

A nearly snowless winter melted into some later months with less rainfall, and now, in the swelter of July, drought concerns arise.

Deborah Fries of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says experts monitor four measurements — rainfall, ground water, surface water, and soil moisture — and some of them are creeping toward the drought range.

“We have four of our southeast counties in ‘watch’ conditions for soil moisture and ground water,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “That’s in Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and Delaware (counties).  Chester County is currently in a ‘warning’ condition for their surface water and a ‘watch’ for soil moisture.”

Fries says we’d need to see more triggers in more places and categories to have a regional drought watch declared.

Go to pa.water.usgs.gov for a statewide drought monitoring map.