Wet November & December bodes well for summer

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You thought your yard was a soggy mess before, wait until this snow melts. While it may be frustrating now, it may bode well for next summer.

It was a snowstorm to remember and one we will still be talking about. It brought more than a foot of snow in some places. That snow storm came less than a month after already wet December and a record setting rainfall for November.

The numbers are staggering. For most people, it's way too much.

"So what people are starting to see is water in places they're not accustomed to seeing; crawl spaces, basements," said David Nelms, USGS hydrologist.

He says all that precipitation has raised groundwater to the highest levels in 30-40 years --leaving standing water in places that are normally dry.

Going in to November, our soil was actually dry -- but not anymore.

"With all this rain, we've overcome the soil moisture deficit, once you do that, you can start to recharge the groundwater table," Nelms said.

But now there's two much -- the soil is way too soggy. But that could end being a good thing.

"They're high now, and they're high at the right time of the year," he said.

November-February is when we recharge our soil. Spring and summer rain barely makes it past all of those thirsty roots underground. But when trees are dormant, like now, that water slowly seeps into the soil.

It's great news for people with wells. There's little chance they'll fail next summer, even if rain gets sparse.

"Most of the wells will probably provide more and better water," Nelms said.

A soggy winter is also great for rivers and streams come next summer, as this moisture will seep out of the soil to keep rivers going during dry spells.

A majority of water you see in the streams originates in the groundwater system.

All this moisture is causing a mess now, but think of the ground as a big water savings account. We're making deposits now that we'll withdraw later, in the hot dry days of summer, when we may really need it.

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