Some improvement in drought conditions in western Massachusetts

Central Hampshire, Franklin Counties now no longer in extreme drought

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Recent rains and even some autumn snow have helped provide a little relief from the drought in western Massachusetts. Still, some of western Massachusetts remains under the “extreme drought” category.

This week’s United States Drought Monitor survey came out Thursday morning, showing a slight improvement from the week before. Central portions of Hampshire and Franklin Counties have been taken out of the “extreme drought” zone, and are now in a “severe drought,” a less dire category. Eastern portions of Hampshire County, as well as southeastern Franklin County remain under extreme drought, however.

In Hampshire County, there are mandatory water bans for both Amherst and Hadley. 22News called both of those towns Thursday to ask them if there’s any talk of lifting the ban and they both told us “no,” although Amherst said the decision would come from the state. People told 22News the water bans should stay.

“No not yet. I think it was a pretty dry year. It takes a while to build up the water table. It’s nice, it’s a little drab today but we need the water and we need the rain,” Patrick Boyd-Owens of Shelburne Falls said.

Most of western Massachusetts, including nearly all of Hampden County, most of Hampshire County, and significant portions of Franklin and Hampshire Counties, are under severe drought, while northern portions of Berkshire and Franklin County, as well as far southeastern Hampden County, are in a “moderate drought.”