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2020 drought in New England

February 11, 2021

Below average and infrequent rainfall from May through September 2020 led to an extreme hydrologic drought across much of New England, with some areas experiencing a flash drought, reflecting its quick onset. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recorded record-low streamflow and groundwater levels throughout the region. In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (2020) declared Aroostook County in Maine and Hillsborough and Merrimack Counties in New Hampshire as crop disaster areas. By the beginning of October, 166 community water systems and 5 municipalities in New Hampshire, more than 100 municipalities in Massachusetts, and several community water supplies in Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island had mandatory water restrictions in place.