Will a low-snow winter cause NJ drought worries to reappear?
❄️ Snow is in the forecast but it won’t amount to much
❄️ NJ doesn’t need snowpack to bolster water supplies
❄️ The lack of snow this winter means fewer chemicals seeping into the soil
For the first time since last winter, Central New Jersey is expecting some snow on Wednesday, but if you were hoping for a major winter storm with lots of the white stuff piling up, you’re going to be disappointed.
Little if any accumulation is expected before temperatures warm up a bit and the precipitation finishes off as rain, melting any snow that does accumulate.
According to New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson, you might enjoy snow during the winter, but it’s not really necessary.
“New Jersey doesn’t rely on a winter snowpack for its water resources, it’s all about precipitation, whether it comes in liquid or solid form,” he said.
He said the total amount of precipitation is what’s important for the Garden State and while “we’ve put a big dent in what was a minor to moderate drought condition this past summer into fall, the bad news is we didn’t make up all the deficit.”
Reservoirs are still below normal
He pointed out that whether it’s rain or snow, “we really are relying on ample precipitation for the remainder of this winter to put us into a good position as we go into the next growing season, the next warm season.”
As to whether having snow on the ground is beneficial at all, Robinson said that “having it melt and permeate into the ground is a great way for replenishing soil moisture and getting the agricultural lands ready for the spring season but it’s not fully necessary.”
What’s the impact of less brine on the roadways?
Robinson said when there isn’t much snow falling during the winter, “there are positives of reduced costs for snow removal and reduced chemical treatments of roads and walkways.”
He noted even when public works crews treat the roadways with the newest types of brine solutions, there are chemicals that will wind up seeping into the soil.
“There’s still going to be an impact as we protect people’s safety on the road, it doesn’t help in our water bodies," he said.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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