Maine’s Drought Has Improved from ‘Extreme’ to ‘Severe’
The Maine State Drought Task Force met Thursday, its fourth meeting in the past four months, to reassess conditions related to the ongoing drought in Maine. Task Force member Tow Hawley of ther National Weather Service in Gray says recent rain has improved surface water levels across much of the state, but ground water levels areas still low everywhere south of Aroostook County
Hawley says the state is not yet out of the drought. “It took us a long time to get into this position and it will take a long time to get out.”
Nicholas Stasulis, Data Section Chief for the U.S. Geological Survey, says several surface water gauges are now in the normal range, with some in the low or very low category, but no longer in the record low range. But seven sites still show the lowest levels on record.
Stasulis says extreme drought status is no longer present and severe drought status is shrinking across Maine. Most of the state is now considered abnormally dry or in moderate drought status.
Tom Redstone, Maine Emergency Management Agency Natural Hazards Planner, says the drought continues to cause a variety of problems across the state, including a ten percent reduction in hydro power production and a back-log of those needing new wells due to a lack of available well drillers.
Maine citizens south of Aroostook County had been asked to avoid filling wells with foreign water due to the dangers of introducing bacteria and pathogens into the well or causing corrosion or lead problems.
Reports of dry wells continue to be recieved. The task force recommends these conservation tips:
- Shorter showers
- Don't keep water running while brushing teeth or shaving
- Fix leaky sinks and toilets
- Run full loads of laundry and dishes
- Don't peel vegetables under running water
- Use a bucket when washing cars rather than running a hose
Resources are posted at Maineprepares.com and will be updated as more become available.
The Task Force says it will will continue to monitor the situation and will meet again in December.
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