HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 17, 2010/ PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Based on the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Drought Task Force, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today that it has lifted drought watch declarations for 21 western counties.
Watches were lifted today for Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Somerset, Venango, Warren, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
"After monitoring the various indicators, we found that recent substantial precipitation has had a large impact on the region. Recovery is underway and appears to be sustained," said Secretary John Hanger. "All 67 counties are now in normal status."
After a hot and dry summer, drought watches or warnings were issued in September for all 67 counties. By Nov. 10, conditions had returned to normal for 46 eastern and central counties. However, the remaining 21 counties continued to experience 90-day precipitation deficits has high as four inches.
Significant rainfall in early December eliminated those deficits and surface water levels have returned to normal for this time of year. The Pennsylvania Drought Task Force used reports and forecasts from the National Weather Service in conjunction with DEP's drought monitoring program to form the recommendation.
A drought watch declaration is the first level—and least severe—of the state's three drought classifications. It calls for a voluntary 5 percent reduction in non-essential water use.
Water conservation tips and drought information can be found online at www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: drought.
Media contact: Jamie Legenos, 717-787-1323
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection