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Streamflow to Chesapeake Bay in 2000 Reflects Dry Autumn
Released: 1/5/2001

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Wendy McPherson 1-click interview
Phone: 410-238-4255

In 2000, the average streamflow into the Chesapeake Bay was 42.2 bgd (billion gallons per day), which is 16 percent below the long-term average, according to hydrologists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Baltimore, Maryland. The National Weather Service reports the yearly rainfall was above normal at BWI Airport (103 percent) and Wilmington (108 percent), but from October through December, rainfall at BWI was 5.58 inches less than normal. This unusually dry autumn resulted in the lower yearly average streamflow into the Chesapeake Bay (see graphs at http://md.water.usgs.gov/monthly/bay.html).

Although rainfall was below average in December, with only 2.31 inches at BWI in December, which is about 68 percent of the normal monthly rainfall, streamflow across Maryland and Delaware ranged from 48 percent below normal at the Potomac River near Washington, D.C., to 45 percent above normal for the Eastern Shore and Delaware. The Baltimore reservoir system is currently at 97 percent of capacity, and ground-water levels increased and are in the normal range for Maryland and Delaware. Monthly updates of ground-water conditions for 32 key observation wells that are representative of all counties of Maryland and Delaware can be found at http://md.water.usgs.gov/monthly/bay.html.

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