Southeastern Massachusetts is now under a Drought Warning.

Matthew Beaton, the Secretary for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, announced the declaration on Friday which is up from a Drought Watch which was declared for the region in August.

The Cape and Islands is now in a Drought Watch which is up from a Drought Advisory that was issued in August.

Beaton attributed the level increases to a combination of below average rain amounts and six straight months of warm weather.

“While regions within Massachusetts have experienced intermittent rainfall, it will take several precipitation events before the Commonwealth will fully rebound from the effects caused by this year’s drought,” said Beaton. “With today’s drought declaration, the elimination of outdoor watering by residents and businesses around the state is needed to avoid stressing drinking water reservoirs, which will ultimately exacerbate the situation. Additionally, as drought conditions have been particularly difficult on the state’s agricultural sector, we ask the public to buy produce from local farms within the state to support this vital industry.”

Areas within the Drought Warning are currently experiencing precipitation levels five to eight inches below normal over past four months.

The declaration of a Drought Watch represents extremely low groundwater and streamflow levels resulting from prolonged periods of precipitation deficit, including a lack of snowfall in the winter months.

In addition to the recommended water usage restrictions Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz is urging to take caution with barbecuing and other outdoor activities.

"Because the extremely dry conditions have increased the threat of brush and wildland fires, the public is urged to exercise extreme caution when using matches, charcoal grills, and other open flames during outdoor activities,” said Schwartz.

The declarations were made after a recommendation was issued during recent meeting of the Drought Management Task Force, which is comprised of state, federal, and local officials.

The declarations will remain in effect until water levels return to normal in the affected regions.

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