“Extreme drought” has come to western Massachusetts

Much of Hampshire, Franklin Counties under extreme drought

massachusetts-drought-map-9-15
U.S. Drought Monitor map shows current drought conditions in the state. Areas highlighted in red are said to be under an "extreme drought." Those in orange are under "severe drought," tan areas are in a "moderate drought" and yellow areas are "abnormally dry."

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The ongoing drought continues to worsen across the region, with parts of western Massachusetts now considered to be going through an “extreme drought.” That is according to the weekly report from the U.S. Drought Monitor. An “extreme drought” is the second most serious level in their measurements of drought, behind only “exceptional drought,” something that is currently only being experienced in southern and central California.

The areas under extreme drought include much of central Hampshire County and southeastern Franklin County, including all or part of Amherst, Northampton, Easthampton, Southampton, Sunderland, Hadley, Leverett, Shutesbury, Orange, New Salem, Hatfield, Whately, Wendell, Pelham, Belchertown, Ware, South Hadley, Williamsburg, Goshen, Chesterfield, and Huntington. Small portions of Holyoke and Montgomery in Hampden County are also included. A wide swath of north-central Massachusetts, and most of eastern Massachusetts is also under extreme drought.

Most of the remainder of western Massachusetts is under a “severe drought” which is the level just below extreme drought, with portions of Berkshire and northern Franklin County in a “moderate drought.” The northwestern corner of Berkshire County is the only part of the state not in the midst of a drought- that area being considered only “abnormally dry.”

In the Springfield area, we have only received 21.69″ of rain to date this year. On average, we should have received about 30.01″ of rain, giving us a deficit of 8.32″. The deficit is even higher in the portions of Franklin and Hampshire Counties under the extreme drought.

The drought is leading to water restrictions in several western Massachusetts communities, and the dry soil is causing trouble for farmers, gardeners, and homeowners who just want to keep their lawn green. It is also causing some people who rely on wells for their water to completely run dry.

Click here for a listing of water restrictions in local communities.

To see if there is any rain headed our way anytime soon, check out the latest 22News Storm Team Forecast.

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