The northeastern part of Massachusetts has been under severe drought conditions this week, and most of the rest of the state is seeing moderate drought readings, according to the US Drought Monitor.
The monitor released the data Thursday on its website, which said the readings were valid as of Tuesday morning.
The severe drought areas included Middlesex, Suffolk, and Essex counties, and parts of Worcester and Norfolk counties, according to the site.
The rest of the state was under moderate drought conditions, except for the westernmost part of Berkshire County, the site said.
Under severe drought conditions, crops are impacted in both yield and fruit size, hay prices spike, outdoor burn warnings are issued, air quality is poor, trees are brittle and susceptible to insects, water quality is poor, and outdoor water restrictions are implemented, according to the monitor.
In a moderate drought, irrigation use increases; hay and grain yields are lower than normal; honey production declines; wildfires and groundfires increase; trees, landscaping, and fish are stressed; voluntary water conservation is requested; and reservoir and lake levels are below normal capacity, the monitor says.
On July 12, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Bethany Card declared that there was a “significant” drought in the Connecticut River Valley, central, northeast, and southeast parts of the state, and mild drought in western Massachusetts, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard.
“As the state continues to experience dry conditions, and with little rainfall expected in the immediate forecast, it is important that we all implement water conservation practices to reduce stress on our local water supply systems and our natural habitats,” Card said last week in a statement.
She said state officials “will continue to work closely with its municipal partners and local water suppliers as we further monitor ongoing drought conditions and address its impacts, particularly on the agricultural sector.”
Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com.