CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The U.S. Drought Monitor released its most updated map of Massachusetts on Thursday, putting most of the state at severe drought or above.
The only parts of the state not in severe drought are Nantucket and a little bit less than half of the western edge of Berkshire County. This comes a little more than a week after the State Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs declared much of the state in critical drought, placing water restrictions on most cities and towns in the Commonwealth.
Residents are being asked to conserve water at home but watering lawns and washing cars don’t cause a drought so what does? 22News Storm Team Meteorologist Chris Bouzakis explains what exactly this means and how much rain is needed to get back to normal conditions.
Getting to this level of drought really takes weeks of below-average rainfall. Most of western Massachusetts reached the lowest level of drought – “DRY” – in the last week of June after three weeks of below-average rainfall.
By mid-July, we only got about a half-inch of rain at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee triggering moderate drought warnings. Things didn’t improve much by the end of the month, finishing with almost one inch less precipitation than usual pushing the region to severe drought.
In terms of getting back to desirable conditions, it will take above-average rainfall through September. The map from the National Weather Service shows how much rain regions across the country need over the next four weeks to end ongoing droughts and this isn’t just a New England problem. Massachusetts is in the nine to 12-inch range. Data from Barnes Air National Guard Base says we get 4.83 inches of precipitation in September on average since 2000.
It could be worse, on that map the southern coast of Connecticut was shaded dark blue indicating they have a rainfall deficit of more than 15 inches right now.
The weekend looks warm and mostly dry. The 22News Storm Team is tracking into next week.