Seven WNY Counties are Now Included in Abnormally Dry Belt

July 6, 2012 Updated Jul 6, 2012 at 8:09 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First

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July 6, 2012 Updated Jul 6, 2012 at 8:09 AM EDT


The long stretch of hot, sunny weather is continuing, and parts of seven Western New York counties have now been classified as abnormally dry.

Allegany is the only county in the region that is not dangerously short of precipitation, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, which was released Thursday morning.

The monitor, which keeps track of precipitation and groundwater levels, classifies water-deficient areas into five categories.

The lowest rating is abnormally dry, a designation that has been extended to all of Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, as well as the western portions of Cattaraugus, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Abnormally dry areas are not considered to be suffering a drought, but have the potential to attain that status.

Classifications then proceed to four versions of drought: moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional.

The monitor, which is updated weekly by the U.S. Agriculture Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, currently shows four belts of abnormally dry conditions across New York, accounting for 19 percent of the state's land area.

No part of New York is currently considered to be suffering a drought.

The previous version of the monitor, which was issued on June 28, classified Erie and Niagara as the only Western New York counties with abnormally dry conditions.

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