Drought task force to meet as Matthew churns north

People stand on the coast watching the surf produced by Hurricane Matthew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. A hurricane warning is in effect for Jamaica, Haiti, and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma and Las Tunas - as well as the southeastern Bahamas. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) – When the Drought Management Task Force meets Wednesday, it will be after two weeks during which the extent of the drought did not expand and on the heels of a weekend weather system that dumped close to three inches of rain on some parts of the state.

The task force, which brings together the agencies within the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, meteorologists and environmental activists, will receive an update on conditions around the state and the forecast for the coming weeks before recommending changes to regional drought level indexes.

Massachusetts has been under an official drought declaration since July 1 and more than 98 percent of the state is experiencing a “moderate” drought or worse. But the scope of the drought, which worsened each week since May, has not changed since mid-September.

And in the past five days, the Dorchester section of Boston has seen 1.21 inches of rain, matching its total for the month of August, according to data collected by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. Some parts of Massachusetts — principally Cape Cod and the South Coast — got close to three inches of rain in the last week, the National Weather Service said.

Wednesday’s meeting also comes as the path of Hurricane Matthew appears to put the storm just south of New England by Sunday morning — a forecast that led WBZ-TV meteorologist Eric Fisher to suggest in a blog post that Matthew could hook up with an approaching front to pour as much as 6 inches of rain on Massachusetts without the significant hurricane winds.

The Drought Management Task Force meets Wednesday at 12 p.m. on the second floor of 100 Cambridge St. in Boston.


The latest on Hurricane Matthew: Western Massachusetts in “cone of uncertainty”


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