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2022 drought in New England

March 8, 2023


During April through September 2022, much of New England experienced a short but extreme hydrologic drought that was similar to the drought of 2020. By August 2022, Providence, Rhode Island, was declared a Federal disaster area, and New London and Windham counties in Connecticut were declared natural disaster areas. Mandatory water use restrictions were put in place in communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island (Mecray and Borisoff, 2022). Precipitation in many areas of New England fell below normal levels in November 2021 and continued to decline until September 2022, contributing to low streamflows and groundwater levels in the region. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow and groundwater conditions from April to September 2022 were used to characterize the hydrologic component of this short-duration drought. Several record low streamflows and groundwater levels were observed across New England, even falling below 2020 levels in parts of southern New England. The severity of this drought varied across New England, and regional and statewide perspectives are presented in this report.


  • May through August in 2022 ranked as the driest for those 4 months in 138 years of record at Boston, Massachusetts, with only 5.74 inches of rain (average of 13.26 inches).
  • Water levels at 95 USGS groundwater monitoring wells across New England were below normal in August; 16 of these wells recorded their lowest August water level in 25 years.
  • Flows at 54 USGS streamgages across New England were below normal in August, and 10 of those streamgages recorded their lowest August flows in 30 years.
  • Two USGS streamgages in Massachusetts (stations 01105600 and 01171500 with 56 and 83 years of record, respectively) had record 7-day average low flows on August 21, 2022, and August 22, 2022, respectively.
Publication Year 2023
Title 2022 drought in New England
DOI 10.3133/sir20235016
Authors Dee-Ann E. McCarthy, James M. LeNoir, Pamela J. Lombard
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2023-5016
Index ID sir20235016
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New England Water Science Center