A few showers this week weren’t enough to stave off the dry conditions, with weather officials declaring a “severe drought” for parts of central Maine.
Parts of Franklin, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Somerset counties are experiencing severe drought conditions as of Tuesday, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The northern edges of Kennebec and Waldo counties are also affected.
More than half of the streamflow gage stations across the state, which monitor water conditions, are the lowest they’ve been for this time of year in more than three decades.
“Drought conditions have rapidly intensified in the last two weeks and this trend is expected to continue into summer,” Drought Task Force officials wrote in a report.
About 40 percent of the state is experiencing “moderately dry conditions,” while the northern areas and Washington County are experiencing “abnormally dry conditions.”
The low streamflow reported by the stations has been caused by the lack of rainfall in recent weeks, officials said. A precipitation deficit is most notable along the coast and in southern Maine.
“A substantial amount of precipitation is needed to end current dry conditions,” officials said.
In northern Maine, where conditions are less severe than other parts of the state, more than 15 inches of rainfall — or 128 percent of normal seasonal precipitation — is required within the next three months to return to the area normal conditions.