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Regional Drought Update Date
May 24, 2023
Site Section
Drought Status Update

Drought Early Warning Update for the Northeast


DEWS Regions:
Update Status:

NIDIS and its partners will issue future Northeast Drought Status Updates as conditions evolve.

Mixed Hydrological Signals Hold Most of the Region in Status Quo—But Teetering Toward Dryness

 

 

Key Points:

  • Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions took hold in northern Maine last week, but recent rain kept conditions from expanding and deteriorating. 
  • This past week’s precipitation was balanced by earlier periods of drier and windier conditions, promoting a drought “holding pattern” for most of New England and New York.
  • The cold dry air, responsible for freezing conditions last week, damaged some crops in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont and raised concerns for farmers about the increased variability of the weather and changing climate.
  • Wildland fires, reported in both Massachusetts and New York, also reflected our region’s windy and dry periods over the past month. 
Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor | Northeast

U.S. Drought Monitor Categories
Value Map Hex Color Description
D0 - Abnormally Dry #ffff00 Abnormally Dry Abnormally Dry (D0) indicates a region that is going into or coming out of drought. View typical impacts by state.
D1 - Moderate Drought #fcd37f Moderate Drought Moderate Drought (D1) is the first of four drought categories (D1–D4), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. View typical impacts by state.
D2 - Severe Drought #fa0 Severe Drought Severe Drought (D2) is the second of four drought categories (D1–D4), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. View typical impacts by state.
D3 - Extreme Drought #e60000 Extreme Drought Extreme Drought (D3) is the third of four drought categories (D1–D4), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. View typical impacts by state.
D4 - Exceptional Drought #730000 Exceptional Drought Exceptional Drought (D4) is the most intense drought category, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. View typical impacts by state.
U.S. Drought Monitor Categories
Value Map Hex Color Description
D0 - Abnormally Dry #ffff00 Abnormally Dry Abnormally Dry (D0) indicates a region that is going into or coming out of drought. View typical impacts by state.
D1 - Moderate Drought #fcd37f Moderate Drought Moderate Drought (D1) is the first of four drought categories (D1–D4), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. View typical impacts by state.
D2 - Severe Drought #fa0 Severe Drought Severe Drought (D2) is the second of four drought categories (D1–D4), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. View typical impacts by state.
D3 - Extreme Drought #e60000 Extreme Drought Extreme Drought (D3) is the third of four drought categories (D1–D4), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. View typical impacts by state.
D4 - Exceptional Drought #730000 Exceptional Drought Exceptional Drought (D4) is the most intense drought category, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. View typical impacts by state.

Current Conditions

U.S. Drought Monitor 4-Week Change Map

From April 18 to May 16, parts of southern New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and northwestern Rhode Island have seen 1 to 2 category improvements in drought/dryness. Meanwhile, far-eastern Massachusetts and much of Maine have seen a 1-category degradation.
U.S. Drought Monitor 4-week change map for the Northeast Drought Early Warning System (DEWS), showing where conditions have degraded (yellow to brown hues) and improved (green to blue hues) from April 18 to May 16, 2023. Source: National Drought Mitigation Center.

Accumulated Precipitation Departure from Normal

Locations across the Northeast have seen an increase in precipitation recently, though several sites are still showing a deficit for the calendar year to date.
Departure from normal precipitation (inches) for Caribou Area, ME (blue), Boston Area, MA (black), Providence Area, RI (green), Bridgeport Area, CT (orange), Islip Area, NY (purple), and Binghamton Area, NY (red). Source: ACIS.

New England Groundwater Levels

While groundwater levels are normal or above normal across much of New England, several sites in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire are below normal.
U.S. Geological Survey groundwater data for New England, showing the percentile of the most recently measured groundwater levels relative to long-term monthly statistics. Source: U.S. Geological Survey New England Water Science Center.

Real-Time Streamflow Conditions

As of May 23, real-time streamflow is below or much below normal for many sites across New York, Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and northern Maine.
Real-time streamflow conditions at U.S. Geological Survey streamgages in the Northeast, compared to historical conditions for the same day of the year. Source: U.S. Geological Survey via Drought.gov.

State-Reported Conditions and Impacts

Connecticut

Maine

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New York

Rhode Island

Vermont

Find additional impacts through the National Drought Mitigation Center’s Drought Impact Reporter

Visit the new Drought.gov state pages for additional maps and resources. Or, find local drought information by address, city or zip code on Drought.gov. 

Outlooks

8–14 Day Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks: May 31–June 6

The 8–14 day outlooks show increased chances for above-normal temperatures across the entire region, and below-normal precipitation across much of Maine, Hew Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. This combination of conditions could be beneficial for spring planting but enhances evapotranspiration during the period.

From May 31 to June 6,  odds favor above-normal temperatures across most of the Northeast.
8–14 day temperature outlook, showing the probability (percent chance) of above-, below-, or near-normal temperatures across the Northeast from May 31–June 6, 2023. Issued May 23, 2023. Source: Climate Prediction Center via Drought.gov.
From May 31 to June 6, odds slightly favor below-normal precipitation for most of New York (except Long Island), Vermont, northern and western New Hampshire, and northwestern Maine. Near-normal conditions are favored in the rest of the region.
8–14 day precipitation outlook, showing the probability (percent chance) of above-, below-, or near-normal temperatures across the Northeast from May 31–June 6, 2023. Issued May 23, 2023. Source: Climate Prediction Center via Drought.gov.

Week 3–4 Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks: June 3–16

The Climate Prediction Center's outlook for June 3–16, which favors above-normal temperatures for the Northeast, would support drying and the potential emergence of drought in June, particularly if precipitation is below or near normal.

For June 3-16, odds favor above-normal temperatures across the region.
Week 3–4 temperature outlook, showing the probability (percent chance) of above- or below-normal temperatures across the U.S. from June 3–16. Issued May 19, 2023. Source: Climate Prediction Center.
For June 3-16, there are equal chances of above- or below-normal precipitation across the Northeast.
Week 3–4 precipitation outlook, showing the probability (percent chance) of above- or below-normal precipitation across the U.S. from June 3–16. Issued May 19, 2023. Source: Climate Prediction Center.

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook: May 18–August 31, 2023

The Climate Prediction Center's seasonal drought outlook indicates no strong influences for drought development in the Northeast during the period (May 18–August 31), but all eyes should be on the next update, which is scheduled for June 15, 2023.

 

No drought is currently present in the Northeast, and no drought is expected to develop from May 18 to August 31.
Seasonal (3-month) drought outlook, showing where drought is predicted to persist (brown), improve (gray), be removed (green), or develop (yellow) from May 18–August 31, 2023. No drought is projected to develop in the Northeast during this period. Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center, via Drought.gov

Special Announcement

NIDIS Launches Improved and Expanded State Pages

Just in time to monitor changing conditions in the spring and summer months, the U.S. Drought Portal now offers new and improved state pages. The expanded Drought.gov state pages—which NIDIS developed in collaboration with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and state partners—provide a one-stop shop for state drought information, including interactive and easily shareable maps, statistics, and resources for all 50 states. Questions or feedback? Email us at drought.portal@noaa.gov.

Explore the new state pages for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic:

What We Are Watching

Featured Resources

Upcoming Events

  • Register now for the National Soil Moisture Coordinating Network’s next quarterly webinar on May 25: USDA Perspectives on Monitoring and Assessing Drought Impacts and Fire Risk.
  • This August, NIDIS will host the 2023 National Soil Moisture Workshop. View more information and register here.

Additional Resources

Contacts for More Information

Sylvia Reeves
Regional Drought Information Coordinator (Northeast DEWS)
NOAA/CIRES/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
Email: sylvia.reeves@noaa.gov

Ellen L. Mecray
Regional Climate Services Director, Eastern Region
NOAA/NESDIS/National Centers for Environmental Information
Email: Ellen.L.Mecray@noaa.gov

Prepared By

Sylvia Reeves
NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), CIRES

Samantha Borisoff, Jessica Spaccio, Keith Eggleston, Art DeGaetano, Natalie Umphlett
Northeast Regional Climate Center

Ellen Mecray
Regional Climate Services Director, Eastern Region, NOAA

Gardner Bent
USGS New England Water Science Center

In partnership with National Weather Service Offices of the Northeast and State Climate Offices of the Northeast. 

Special Thanks

This drought status update is issued in partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to communicate concern for drought expansion and intensification within the Northeast U.S. based on recent conditions and the forecasts and outlooks. NIDIS and its partners will issue future drought status updates as conditions evolve.