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Most of Massachusetts has ‘abnormally dry’ conditions, officials say

The US Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Map courtesy of NDMC

The area of Massachusetts in “abnormally dry” conditions continues to rise, as more than 75 percent of the state now falls under that categorization, according to the US Drought Monitor.

Data released on April 6 shows 75.40 percent, a 23.87 percent increase from the week prior, of the state in abnormally dry conditions, the first stage of drought conditions. The March 30 report from the US Drought Monitor showed 51.53 percent of Massachusetts in the category, which itself was a rise from the previous week’s 38.19 percent.

The US Drought Monitor classifies abnormally dry areas as those areas that are “not in drought, but are experiencing abnormally dry conditions that could turn into drought or are recovering from drought but are not yet back to normal.”


A look at drought conditions in the northeastern United StatesMap Courtesy of USDM

Symptoms of abnormal dryness include “short-term dryness slowing planting, growth of crops or pastures,” if the area is potentially headed into a drought or “some lingering water deficits,” and “pastures or crops not fully recovered” if the area is recovering from a drought.

Three months ago, no areas of Massachusetts were in any of the five categories of drought, according to the US Drought Monitor.

In the Northeast region, 40.14 percent of the area is in “abnormally dry” conditions while 10.27 of the region, primarily areas of New York, Vermont, and Pennsylvania, is in “moderate drought” conditions.

According to the National Weather Service, Boston has a 40 percent chance of showers on Sunday night.

Boston has received 7.88 inches of rain since Jan. 1, four inches below average, according to the National Weather Service.

Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.