Despite Recent Rains, Parts of Maine Fall Back into 'Moderate Drought'

Aug 7, 2017

There have been a lot of rainy days over the last few months, but the National Weather Service says much of the state is still too dry.

"We started out the summer pretty wet, but in early July things took a turn - they really started drying out," says meteorologist Todd Foisey, of the National Weather Service office in Caribou, "and right now eastern Maine from about Houlton to Calais, Eastport, Machias, are in a moderate drought."

Foisey says much of eastern Maine from York County up to Aroostook County is also classified now as "abnormally dry."

The drought affects an area where about 43,000 people live, in much of Washington County, and some of Penobscot and Aroostook counties.

Foisey says, unlike last year's severe drought, this is what they call a "flash drought" - so ground water isn't depleted in the same way. But he says for farmers, and even gardeners, it can be a real problem because crops are very susceptible to even short periods of dryness.

Foisey says droughts of this kind also increase the risk of wildfires.  He says there's no major rain expected over the next few days, so conditions are expected to continue as they are. 

He says campers should be cautious. "With this long dry period and abnormally dry and moderate drought if you're having campfires or anything like that, to make sure they don't get out of control, because normally our forests around here they don't burn very easily, but with the dry weather, those fuels, the forests, the trees, can go up pretty easily so you have to be careful."