Drought now classified as moderate in state

State House News Service
Published: 3/2/2017 10:42:01 PM

The lawns of Mort Vining Road in Southwick may be covered in snow now, but according to the U.S. Drought Monitor they are the last in Massachusetts to be classified as under an “extreme drought.”

Since Aug. 9, 2016 at least part of Massachusetts has been under an “extreme drought” as classified by the Drought Monitor.

Thursday’s update maintained that just a tick more than one square mile of Massachusetts remains under an extreme drought, though the Monitor’s map of the state does not reveal which square mile is the driest.

“I bet there’s just a smidgen of it right on that state line,” Richard Heim, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist who wrote Thursday’s drought report for the Drought Monitor.

The Massachusetts border with Connecticut is fairly straight, except for a portion of Southwick that juts south into the Connecticut towns of Granby and Suffield. After checking Drought Monitor data and maps, Heim confirmed that the 0.01 percent of Massachusetts still experiencing an extreme drought is located right on the state line where Southwick meets Granby.

“You can effectively say there is no D3 (extreme drought) in Massachusetts,” Heim said. “The intent of that change three or four weeks ago was to pull D3 out of Massachusetts and into Connecticut where streamflows are the lowest and where there is long-term dryness.”

Thursday’s update does not herald the end of the drought that has dehydrated Massachusetts for a year. Almost all of mainland Massachusetts is under at least a “moderate drought” and about a third of the state is still classified as experiencing “severe drought” conditions. Martha’s Vineyard and northwest Berkshire County are “abnormally dry” and only Nantucket is adequately hydrated, according to the Monitor.


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