Pa. increases county drought warnings

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has placed four more counties on drought warning status following a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force.

While recent precipitation over the past few weeks has helped dry conditions in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, the central part of the state still has persistent 90-day precipitation deficits of up to 4 inches from normal, as well as low groundwater and stream levels.

Mifflin, Juniata, Snyder and Union Counties were moved from drought watch to drought warning status.

Snyder has a precipitation deficit of 11 inches from normal over the past year. These four counties join Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton, which have been on drought warning status since Nov. 3.

Reduce usage

DEP encourages residents in these counties to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10-15 percent.

Counties on drought watch are Adams, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Montgomery, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Wayne and York Counties.

Residents are encouraged to reduce their nonessential water use by 5 percent. Drought watch and warning declarations in late fall/early winter, while not common, have occurred several times in the past decade, in 2011, 2010, and 2008. The Drought Task Force will meet next on Jan. 5.

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