Monitor: Most of Massachusetts in moderate drought
Since Aug. 9, 2016 at least part of Massachusetts has been under an "extreme drought" as classified by the Drought Monitor.
The federal group dropped the percentage of the state still in its second-most-dire category to 0.01 percent — so little that the bright red indicator does not appear on the Monitor’s map — on Feb. 9 and that tiny sliver of extreme dryness has remained in each weekly report since.
"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, said Thursday as he focused in on Southwick.
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.
"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."
At first, the 3.66 percent of the state under the category centered around Andover, Wilmington, North Reading, Tewksbury, Billerica, Concord and Lexington.
By late September, the red splotch grew into a sprawling stain across at least parts of every mainland county except Berkshire County – 52.13 percent of the state in total.
It receded from northeast to southwest, but not before spanning the state’s height.
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.