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Regional Drought Update Date
August 26, 2022
Site Section
Drought Status Update

Drought Status Update for the Northeast


DEWS Regions:
Update Status:

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

Drought Impacts Continue To Expand and Intensify.

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

Key Points

  • Extreme Drought (D3) expanded to cover most of Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut, and expanded in Massachusetts.
  • Extreme Drought (D3) also pushed into a small portion of southern New Hampshire.
  • Severe Drought (D2) expanded across most of Connecticut and Massachusetts and into New Hampshire and southern Vermont, as well as southern Long Island.
  • Moderate Drought (D1) expanded in eastern New York, Long Island, and Vermont.
  • Some areas of Maine saw rain and conditions improve, while other areas missed out and Moderate Drought (D1) expanded.
Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions: Northeast | August 23, 2022

Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for the Northeast Drought Early Warning System with data valid for August 23, 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:

  • Extreme drought (D3) conditions exist in 4.45% of the region.
  • Severe drought (D2) conditions exist in 12.98% of the region.
  • Moderate drought (D1) conditions exist in 16.54% of the region.
  • Abnormally dry (D0) conditions exist in 30.43% 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
16.54%
of the Northeast is in Moderate Drought (D1)
12.98%
of the Northeast is in Severe Drought (D2)
4.45%
of the Northeast is in Extreme Drought (D3)

Current Conditions

U.S. Drought Monitor 4-Week Change Map

From July 26 to August 23, parts of the Northeast saw 1-2 category improvements, while other areas saw 1 to 3 category degradations.
U.S. Drought Monitor change map, showing where drought and dryness have improved or worsened from July 26–August 23, 2022. Source: National Drought Mitigation Center.

Accumulated Precipitation Departure from Normal

Accumulated precipitation deficits continued to increase through late August for Portland, Providence, Boston, and Islip.
Departure from normal precipitation (inches) for Portland Area, ME (blue), Islip Area, NY (orange), Boston Area, MA (black), and Providence Area, RI (green). Source: ACIS.

Accumulated Potential Evapotranspiration (PET) Departure from Normal

Accumulated potential evapotranspiration (PET) departure from normal from March to late August 2022 for four locations in the Northeast.
Accumulated potential evapotranspiration held steady as compared to normal over the last two weeks. Seasonal accumulations are still above normal for all four stations. Source: ACIS.

State-Reported Impacts

New England 

Connecticut

Maine

Massachusetts

A bridge over the Segreganset River in Massachusetts, showing no flow from the river
Zero flow at the U.S. Geological Survey Segreganset River streamgage (01109070) near North Dighton, MA on August 21, 2022. Looking downstream from the streamgage. Drainage area is 10.6 square miles. Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey.
Low flows on the Ipswitch River in Massachusetts
Flow of 0.07 cubic feet/second (cfs) at the U.S. Geological Survey Ipswich River streamgage (01102000) near Ipswich, MA on August 24, 2022. Looking at the concrete weir. Drainage area is 125 square miles. Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey.

New Hampshire

New York

Rhode Island

Outlooks

  • According to the Climate Prediction Center's 8–14 day outlook (valid September 2–8, 2022), there is a greater likelihood of above-normal temperatures for most of the Northeast, except the northwestern corner of Vermont and western/central New York, where odds favor near-normal conditions. Odds favor below-normal precipitation across the entire region.
  • The week 3–4 outlook (valid September 3–16, 2022) shows a greater likelihood of above-normal temperatures across the Northeast, as well as equal chances of above- or below-normal precipitation for the entire region.

8–14 Day Temperature Outlook

From September 2–8, odds favor above-normal temperatures across the Northeast, except for western/central New York and the northwestern corner of Vermont.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center 8–14 day temperature outlook for the Northeast, showing the probability of above-normal, below-normal, or normal conditions from September 2–8, 2022. Source: Climate Prediction Center via the Northeast DEWS Dashboard.

8–14 Day Precipitation Outlook

From September 2-8, odds favor below-normal precipitation for the entire Northeast.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center 8–14 day precipitation outlook for the Northeast, showing the probability of above-normal, below-normal, or normal conditions from September 2–8, 2022. Source: Climate Prediction Center via the Northeast DEWS Dashboard.

Temperature Outlook Week 3–4

From September 3–16, 2022, odds favor above-normal temperatures for the entire Northeast.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center week 3–4 temperature outlook for the Northeast, showing the probability of above-normal or below-normal conditions from September 3–16, 2022. Issued August 19, 2022. Source: Climate Prediction Center.

Precipitation Outlook Week 3–4

From September 3-16, 2022, there are equal chances of above- and below-normal precipitation across the Northeast.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center week 3–4 precipitation outlook for the Northeast, showing the probability of above-normal or below-normal conditions from September 3–16, 2022. Issued August 19, 2022. Source: Climate Prediction Center.

Ecological Drought

"Short-term drought (a month or two) normally has little impact on tree morphology (including limb loss). Prolonged drought (multiple months or years) can cause trees to die back, which starts with the loss of the outermost branches. If the drought and/or other stress persists, the dieback can progress to limbs and, if severe enough, to whole tree mortality.  There are lots of factors (e.g., soils, tree species, and other stresses) that determine how fast and how susceptible a tree is to drought-induced dieback."

– Steven McNulty, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station; USDA Forest Service Eastern Threat Center (Steven.Mcnulty@usda.gov)

“The Emerald ash borer has been rapidly expanding in parts of the Northeast this year and there are many dying and newly dead ash across NH, VT, MA, and ME. There was also a spongy moth (formerly gypsy moth) outbreak earlier in the summer further confusing things. There is definitely some early leaf fall among other species (especially in the driest areas) and this is a normal response to intense drought.” 

– David Hollinger, USDA Northeast Climate Hub, Director; Forest Service - Northern Research Station (david.hollinger@usda.gov)

What We Are Watching

Dryness expands and worsens in New Jersey, increasing concerns about drought impacts in and around the New York City metropolitan area.

Featured Resources

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
Northeast Regional Climate Center

Ellen Mecray
Regional Climate Services Director, Eastern Region, NOAA

David Hollinger
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 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.