Drought Worsens on the Seacoast
Most of the New Hampshire Seacoast region, coastal Maine, and all of eastern Massachusetts have fallen further into severe drought.
It doesn't look like the situation will be alleviated anytime soon, according to hydrologist Sarah Jamison with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, who says the Seacoast has a rainfall deficit of 3-8 inches.
Scattered thunderstorms with potentially heavy rain are expected over the next few days, but will not be helpful towards making a dent in the drought.
"Ideally we'll start to recoup the rainfall over the next few months, but if it were to all fall in a day. That wouldn't be as beneficial. So the time frame that we get this rainfall is really critical in improving our drought," Jamison said.
With the exception of some widespread rain that could develop as a cold front stalls early next week, there's nothing significant in the next two weeks that would break the drought.
Jamison said that the hurricane season could also provide relief, despite the National Hurricane Center pulling back on its outlook for the rest of the season.
"They are still forecast for an above-normal season. It's possible we could get some of the rain and moisture from tropical systems in New England that could bring a widespread notable rain event to the area," Jamison said.
New Hampshire state climatologist Mary Stampone said that the heat is also contributing to the drought.
"The dry conditions we have here are contributing to the severity of the drought. Lack of rainfall coinciding with increased temperatures dries out the soil, and that exacerbates the already dry conditions we're experiencing," Stampone said.
Newburyport implemented voluntary water restrictions and asked residents to limit their outdoor watering so it occurs only between the hours of 6 a.m - 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. daily. Municipal parks and fields will adhere to the same time restrictions.
The Berwick Water Department continues to struggle with the increased level of manganese in the drinking water because of a slowdown in the flow of the Salmon Falls River. The level is at 0.4 mg/L, which is over the 0.3 mg/L advisory level for young children, and is under the 1.0 mg/L advisory limit for adults.
"It is safe for healthy adults to brush their teeth, bathe, cook, use ice and wash dishes with water with elevated manganese," the department wrote.
The department has Wright-Pierce Engineering coming into the plant to work on reducing the level.
One gallon jugs of water are available at the Town Hall Monday through Thursday 8am-5pm and at the Fire Station.
The U.S. Drought Monitor has most of Rockingham and Stafford counties in New Hampshire, and York County and all of Essex County in Massachusetts in a severe drought.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH