BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) – .Toasted by above-average temperatures and long, dry early summer days, the Massachusetts landscape is marked by seared lawns, wilting gardens and lower than normal precipitation, groundwater, stream flow and reservoir levels.
“My lawn’s dead,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton told the News Service Thursday, echoing the sentiments of people throughout the state. Other lawns in his Shrewsbury neighborhood that are usually lush and green at this time of year are “completely smoked,” said Beaton, calling it “quite striking.”
Beaton met in Boston Thursday morning with the state’s Drought Advisory Task Force, receiving feedback about conditions from experts on everything from hydrology, weather, agriculture and fire threats.
“Different parts of the state are at different levels,” Beaton said. “The biggest concern is the central and northeastern part of the state. That’s where a lot of the focus was and is.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor, produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, estimated 44.3 percent of Massachusetts was experiencing abnormally dry conditions as of Tuesday, with 25.3 percent in a moderate drought and 29.6 percent of the state – the areas referenced by Beaton – in a severe drought.
The task force is readying recommendations, which Beaton plans to use if he declares actions to address the situation in the coming days.
“We’re just watching this as closely as we can,” said Beaton.
There have so far been no “glaring impacts” on farming in Massachusetts, he said, but early summer water use levels are more in line with late-summer trends, a situation that Beaton said bears watching.
Meteorologists on Thursday were tracking thunderstorms that are likely to bring rain to the some areas of the state in the coming days.