Despite all the rain, the drought got much worse
The portion of Massachusetts suffering an extreme drought has expanded, the US Drought Monitor said Thursday, and meteorologists don’t expect to see significant improvement any time soon — with dry conditions expected to last through the winter.
National Weather Service meteorologist Lenore Correia said New England is expected to see normal precipitation in coming months, but the region would need conditions to be especially wet to undo the damage wrought by the months-long drought.
“It’ll probably be an average winter, so we’ll get snow,” she said. “But we won’t get the above-normal snow [levels] that would help us with the drought.”
In the latest map released Thursday by the US Drought Monitor, a collaboration of academic and government experts, the portion of Massachusetts suffering an extreme drought has expanded, a reversal from recent weeks that had shown the drought receding.
The drought extended southeast across the state and into Connecticut under the latest measurements. The map shows more than 40 percent of Massachusetts is now in extreme drought.
The percentage is up from about 29 percent last week. At the drought’s peak in September, 52 percent of the state was in an extreme drought.
The US Drought Monitor has been mapping drought conditions across the country since 1999. The organization declared an extreme drought in Massachusetts this year for the first time.
After a lack of substantial rainfall in the summer and early autumn, more than 5 inches of rain fell in October, the most in any one month so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. Only 1.2 inches of rain have fallen in November, however.
The extreme drought encompasses the northeastern corner of the state — and a small sliver of Southern New Hampshire — and expands southeast through Essex, Middlesex, Worcester, Hampshire, and Hampden counties.
Small parts of Franklin and Berkshire counties are also included.
The new map also marks the first time this year that the extreme drought has extended south into Connecticut. It encompasses 44 percent of that state and a small portion of Eastern New York.
Twenty-two percent of Massachusetts is experiencing a serious drought, and about 35 percent remains in a moderate drought. The islands off the southern coast are classified as abnormally dry or within normal ranges.