Parts Of Maine Face Severe Drought

Jul 24, 2020

Hot conditions since May coupled with very little rainfall have caused not just drier than average conditions in Maine, but actual drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Credit National Weather Service

Most of the state, especially in the North and East, is experiencing "moderate drought" which can have negative impacts on agriculture and increase fire danger. In far Northern Maine, the drought is being classed as severe.

"Rivers are running really really low. The Penobscot, Aroostook, St. John, are running at near record low levels," says Todd Foisy, a science and operations officer with the National Weather Service in Caribou.

He says for reasons that aren't entirely clear, the major weather patterns this year have followed an over-land trajectory, rather than tapping into the moisture over the Gulf of Maine.

Foisy says he is hopeful that a little rain might be forming for the coming week, but he says a lot more is going to be needed to make an impact.

Don Flannery with the Maine Potato Board says that the dryness is causing worry across the county, and it could impact the 2020 crop at a time when the industry is still trying to recover from the upheavals caused by COVID-19.

It's a similar story with the Maine wild blueberry industry. Eric Venturini with the Maine Wild Blueberry Commission says a drought is especially unwelcome as parts of Washington County already face lower yields, due to three frosts in June, which zapped blossoms.