AUGUSTA — The Maine Emergency Management Agency and US Geological Survey commenced Thursday a preliminary activation of the Drought Task Force for the 2021 season.
The U.S. Drought Monitor mapping program shows extensive abnormally dry conditions across the state of Maine that exceed the threshold required for activating the Task Force.
Given that these conditions are occurring early in the year, and in combination with the many vaccination-related efforts taking precedence at MEMA, Task Force Chairs from USGS and MEMA approved a preliminary activation of the Task Force.
"Weekly communication has begun between MEMA, USGS, National Weather Service, Maine Drinking Water Program, and other drought monitoring partners to compile a weekly email update on the status of Maine's drought,” said Samuel Roy, Natural Hazards Planner with Maine Emergency Management Agency. “Task Force members are closely monitoring the drought situation across the state.”
Currently about 55 percent of Maine is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, impacting 15 counties.
The majority of streamflows and groundwater levels are lower than average springtime conditions, though recent rainfall has temporarily increased some streamflows in western and southern Maine.
River basin reservoir managers are storing more water than average in anticipation of abnormally dry conditions.
More precipitation is expected at the start of next week. Task Force members will stay in close communication until the dry conditions subside.
In addition to drought monitoring responsibilities, Task Force partners are asked to report any drought-related impacts for which they are notified. The Task Forces preliminary response will continue for as long as appropriate, until virtual meetings are deemed necessary to respond to drought-related impacts in the state.