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Regional Drought Update Date
May 20, 2022
Site Section
Drought Status Update

Drought Early Warning Update for the Northeast


DEWS Regions:
Update Status:

NIDIS and its partners will issue future drought updates as conditions evolve.

The pre-drought footprint expands, raising awareness of the possible return of drought conditions.

For more details, see the Northeast Drought Early Warning System Dashboard.

Key Points

  • Abnormally dry (D0) conditions returned to portions of western New York and along the New England coast from Connecticut to Maine. Growing precipitation deficits since March were exacerbated by little rainfall so far this May.
  • Moderate drought (D1) held fast in northwest Maine.
  • Abnormally dry (D0) conditions surrounding Maine’s D1 saw both improvement and degradation with spotty precipitation patterns during the last few weeks
  • Abnormally dry (D0) conditions remained in northern Vermont and small portions of northern New Hampshire.
Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions: Northeast | May 17, 2022

Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for the Northeast Drought Early Warning System with data valid for May 17, 2022. The U.S. Drought Monitor is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. 

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor:

  • Moderate drought (D1) conditions exist in 1.51% of the region.
  • Abnormally dry (D0) conditions exist in 19.48% of the region.
U.S. Drought Monitor Categories
Value Map Hex Color
D0 - Abnormally Dry #ffff00
D1 - Moderate Drought #ffcc99
D2 - Severe Drought #f5ad3d
D3 - Extreme Drought #ff0000
D4 - Exceptional Drought #660000
Main Stats
19.48%
of the Northeast is Abnormally Dry (D0)
5.31%
of Maine is in Moderate Drought (D1)

Current Conditions

U.S. Drought Monitor 4-Week Change Map

4-week U.S. Drought Monitor change map, showing where drought has improved or worsened from April 19 to May 17, 2022.
U.S. Drought Monitor change map, showing where drought and dryness have improved or worsened from April 19–May 17, 2022. Source: National Drought Mitigation Center.

Animation: 2022 U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions in the Northeast

Animation of a time series, map, and statistics showing the progression of drought across the Northeast from January 4 to May 17, 2022, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Northeast DEWS began 2022 with 3.63% of the region in D1-D2. By May 17, D2 was been removed from the region, and 1.55% is in D1.
Animation showing the progression of drought across the Northeast in 2022 so far (through May 17, 2022), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Explore more historical drought conditions.

Accumulated Precipitation Departure from Normal

Accumulated precipitation departures from normal from November 2021 through mid-May 2022 for four locations in the Northeast: Portland Area, ME (blue), Providence Area, RI (green), Rochester Area, NY (orange), and Boston Area, MA (black).
Departure from normal precipitation (inches) for Portland, ME (blue), Boston, MA (black), Providence, RI (green), and Rochester, NY (orange). Source: ACIS.

Potential Evapotranspiration (PET) Departure from Normal

Unseasonably warm temperatures just before mid-month resulted in PET rates that exceeded the normal seasonal progression in Buffalo and Caribou, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Boston. These large increases were not observed in New York City, where cooler temperatures prevailed. There is potential for increased PET rates this weekend (May 21–22, 2022) due to forecasts for excessively warm temperatures in much of southern New England.

Accumulated potential evapotranspiration (PET) departure from normal from March 2022 through mid-May 2022 for four locations in the Northeast: New York City (blue), Boston (orange), Buffalo (gray), and Caribou, ME (yellow).
Accumulated potential evapotranspiration (PET) departure from normal for March through mid-May for four locations in the Northeast: New York City (blue), Boston, MA (orange), Buffalo, NY (gray), and Caribou, ME (yellow). Source: ACIS.

    State-Reported Impacts

    Maine

    Massachusetts

    New Hampshire

    New York

    * Please note: Nomenclature for drought levels varies between states and agencies. For detailed descriptions of drought status levels, please see the issuing agency's website.

    What We Are Watching

    Heatwaves and Drought in the Northeast 

    During the April NOAA Eastern Region Climate Services webinar, Mathew Barlow and Laurie Agel highlighted some of the findings from their research funded by the NOAA Climate Program Office's Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections (MAPP) Program.

    View the presentation video (start time 13:49) and slide sets, or read their paper in Nature.

    Heat, Health, and Drought

    Don’t forget to register for the next NOAA Eastern Region Climate Services webinar on Thursday, May 26, focused on "Heat, Health, and Drought." Use that same link to register for other webinars through the summer (July 28 and August 30).

    Evaporative Demand Increase Across Lower 48 Means Less Water Supplies, Drier Vegetation, and Higher Fire Risk

    A recent NIDIS-funded study, led by the Desert Research Institute, found that evaporative demand has increased across much of the U.S. over the past 40 years and is emerging outside the range of what was experienced just 20–40 years ago in some places. Learn more.

    Outlooks

    • According to the Climate Prediction Center's 8–14 day outlook (valid May 27–June 2), the entire Northeast is more likely to see above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation.
    • The week 3–4 outlooks (valid May 28–June 10) favor above-normal temperatures throughout most of the Northeast, except far-western New York. The entire region has equal chances of above- or below-normal precipitation.

    8–14 Day Temperature Outlook

    All of the Northeast has above-normal chances of higher-than-normal temperatures from May 27 to June 2, 2022.
    NOAA Climate Prediction Center 8–14 day temperature outlook for the Northeast, showing the probability of above-normal, below-normal, or normal conditions from May 27–June 2, 2022. Source: Climate Prediction Center via the Northeast DEWS Dashboard.

    8–14 Day Precipitation Outlook

    The entire Northeast DEWS region has a higher likelihood of near-normal precipitation conditions from May 27 to June 2, 2022.
    NOAA Climate Prediction Center 8–14 day precipitation outlook for the Northeast, showing the probability of above-normal, below-normal, or normal conditions from May 27–June 2, 2022. Source: Climate Prediction Center via the Northeast DEWS Dashboard.

    Temperature Outlook Week 3–4

    From May 28 to June 10, 2022, most of the Northeast region has a higher chance of above-normal temperatures, except for far-western New York.
    NOAA Climate Prediction Center week 3–4 temperature outlook for the Northeast, showing the probability of above-normal or below-normal conditions from May 28–June 10, 2022. Source: Climate Prediction Center.

    Precipitation Outlook Week 3–4

    From May 28 to June 10, 2022, the entire Northeast has equal chances of above, below, and near normal precipitation.
    NOAA Climate Prediction Center week 3–4 precipitation outlook for the Northeast, showing the probability of above-normal or below-normal conditions from May 28–June 10, 2022. Source: Climate Prediction Center.

    Additional Resources

    New on the Northeast DEWS Dashboard

    • Northeast DEWS Dashboard: U.S. Geological Survey streamflow and groundwater status maps now have pop out capability to view site-specific information.

    Other Resources

    Use these sites to keep tabs on drought degradation and improvements in the areas outside of the Northeast DEWS borders:

    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
    Northeast Regional Climate Center

    Ellen Mecray
    Regional Climate Services Director, Eastern Region, NOAA

    David Hollinger and Maria Janowiak
    USDA Climate Hubs

    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 early warning 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 Early Warning Updates as conditions evolve.