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A swath of Central Mass. is still in ‘severe drought’

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U.S. Drought Monitor

Thirty-secen percent of the state still has a drought warning in effect.

Despite the snow and rain that has fallen on Massachusetts recently, the Connecticut River Valley and Central Massachusetts are still suffering a severe drought, state officials said.

“While it feels like the Commonwealth has had a lot of precipitation recently, the ongoing drought represents many months of deficit that is still being replenished,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg in a statement.

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Between Jan. 31 and Feb. 7, enough snow fell on the 3.8 percent of the state in “extreme drought” that it was almost eliminated. Only 0.01 percent of the state is now in extreme drought, according to the US Drought Monitor, a collaboration of government officials and academics.

But “severe drought” is still affecting 37.1 percent of the state — generally, a swath including the Connecticut River Valley and Central Massachusetts.

Nearly 61 percent of the state is also under a “moderate drought,” while 1.2 percent is “abnormally dry,” and conditions are normal in 0.7 percent of the state.

“Even though many water systems across the Commonwealth are recovering due to an increase in precipitation, it remains essential that we all continue to practice indoor water conservation methods to allow our state’s reservoirs, groundwater, and streamflow networks to fully rebound,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton in a statement.

“With the uncertainty of the amount of precipitation over the course of this winter, and its impacts across the state on spring flows and water levels, it is important that we avoid stressing the Commonwealth’s water systems,” Beaton said.

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“It will take a number of storms to end this drought,” National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham said. “A drought takes quite a while to get into, and it also takes quite a while to get out of.”

“The recent rain and snow is helping water systems recover from the prolonged drought, but a complete recovery is still a long way off,” Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz said.

Maddie Kilgannon can be reached at maddie.kilgannon@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaddieKilgannon.



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