Southern New Hampshire is now officially in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The state’s Department of Environmental Services says low snowpack and dry weather earlier in the year have led to this point.
“In some parts of the state we are 7 inches of rain behind where we would be on an average year,” says Thomas O’Donovan, director of the department’s Water Division. “And in most of the state we’re about 3 and a half to 4 inches behind.”
Every county in New Hampshire is now experiencing moderate drought in some or all of its parts. Under these conditions, fish and tree populations are stressed, honey production declines, and grain yields are lower than normal. Northern Grafton and Coos counties have not entered a drought yet, but are experiencing near-drought or “abnormally dry” conditions.
The last time the state saw severe drought conditions was in 2016. O’Donovan says this year is already drier than that.
“We’re already worse than that at this point in this year,” he says. “But as you know these things are not linear. Just because you’re at this point this year means you’re going to be at that point two months from now. It doesn’t work that way. Each season progresses in their own way.”
With no significant rainfall expected in the next two weeks, O’Donovan says local governments and individuals should start taking water conservation measures now.
New Hampshire's Drought Management Team, which is made up of stakeholders from over 30 state organizations, will assemble in two weeks to begin the implementation of a statewide drought plan that could include a presidential declaration as a disaster area should the drought become severe.