For the first time in almost eight years, Pennsylvania has issued a drought warning for Philadelphia, Bucks, and Montgomery Counties. It also issued a drought watch for Chester and Delaware Counties.

The declarations late Thursday coincided with the arrival of showers in the region. The state Department of Environmental Protection, however, noted that rain had been an infrequent visitor during the last several weeks.

Under the warning, residents are asked to conserve water use voluntarily by 10 to 15 percent; under a watch, by 5 percent.

In all, Pennsylvania issued warnings for 24 counties and watches for 43.

Last week, New Jersey officials placed the entire state under a drought watch, asking for water-use cutbacks.

In the last 30 days, all 67 counties in Pennsylvania and all but Cape May County in New Jersey have had below-normal rainfall, according to the National Weather Service.

Philadelphia's rain through Wednesday was about a third of normal during that period.

Although lawns look parched and once-muddy paths have turned to dust, a wet spring and generally above-normal rainfall the last several years have helped buck up water supplies.

The Philadelphia region has not been under a drought warning since the fall of 2002. That's the longest drought-less stretch in the period of record, dating to 1980.

Contact staff writer Anthony R. Wood at 610-313-8210 or twood@phillynews.com.