BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Unseasonably warm and dry conditions have led to a flash drought across much of the area.

While a typical drought, according to Otkin et al., is a climate phenomenon that slowly develops over time and can last weeks to decades, a flash drought is different because it develops rapidly as a consequence of abnormal heat and dryness across our region.

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Much of the region is under a moderate drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor. An updated map will be released Thursday morning and will likely show conditions continuing to deteriorate.

As we’ve previously reported, September 2019 was the second-driest September on record for the Baltimore region.

Impacts due to drought conditions in Maryland include:

  • Drying of Lawns and Gardens
  • Abnormal Dryness in Ground Soil
  • Additional Stress on Pastures and Hayfields
  • Additional Stress on Late-Season Crops
  • Below Normal Streamflows
  • Below Normal Groundwater

Fall crops, like the apples and pumpkins at Baugher’s Farms in Westminster, can also be affected by the dry conditions.

“We’re super dry right now,” said farmer Dwight Baugher.

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He said there’s about 50 percent fewer pumpkins this year because of the dry weather.

“When you look at a pumpkin field, you shouldn’t see ground, you should see vines and leaves,” Baugher said.

Fortunately, the dryness began at the right time of year for popular fall crops.

Baugher said that while they may be smaller, there still will be plenty of pumpkins to pick.

As for apples, he said the dry weather will make them even tastier.

“In fruit and vegetable production, (a) drought this time of year is bricks of sugar, sweet high flavor, quality,” Baugher added.

He said he can run irrigation to crops that need water right now, like strawberries, adding this weather won’t be a problem for him unless the dryness continues.

“If we don’t catch rain for another six, eight weeks, it can hurt some of the bud strength for next year, but mother nature will help us,” Baugher said.

You can come to Baugher’s Farms every weekend through Halloween to pick apples and pumpkins.

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Stetson Miller