Our drought continues but there has been worse

In the 1960s the water level in the Quabbin Reservoir was 20 feet lower than it is today.

File photo of the Quabbin Reservoir located in Belchertown, Mass.
File photo of the Quabbin Reservoir located in Belchertown, Mass.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It was another sunny and dry day today and the lack of rainfall this summer is evident. River levels have been dropping.

“I noticed the level of the river everyday when I walk by and it does seem to be very low and even with the rain the other day it didn’t seem to raise it much at all,” said Corbin Armstrong of Holyoke.

According to the National Weather Service the drought started years ago. “We think it ‘s been three years, we’re running in the upper 20s for rainfall we should be in the upper 30 inch mark now,” said Ed Capone the hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton.

While the current drought is something we haven’t seen in a long time, UMass Hydrologist David Boutt says the current drought is not extreme in historical terms.

One of the worst droughts in history for this area occurred in the 5 year period from 1962 to 1967. During that time the water level in the Quabbin Reservoir was 20 feet lower than it is today.

A series of droughts also occurred back in the 1980s and some drier periods occurred in the early 2000s.

Despite the drought, there are some areas where it’s not as evident like on the Connecticut River north of the Holyoke Dam. At Brunelle’s Marina in South Hadley there is little to indicate a lack of water. For some people the drought is not as noticeable.>]

“Enjoying the warm days and we see by the canals and walking in Holyoke the water looks like the same level,” said Teresita Castano of Northampton.

According to Boutt we had an abundance of rainfall from about 2005 to 2010. He says we started to feel the effects of our current drought as early as 2013.

More Information:
Local Forecast Severe WX Text Alerts
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Interactive Radar Winter Safety Checklist

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