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Eastern Connecticut faces 'extreme drought' conditions as state continues to see lack of rainfall

While parts of eastern Connecticut are facing an extreme drought, severe drought conditions also expanded across the state.

CONNECTICUT, USA — The eastern halves of New London and Windham counties are now under extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The area now joins all of Rhode Island and parts of eastern Massachusetts which are also facing an extreme drought as beneficial rain continues to elude southern New England. 

While the extreme drought area makes up about 13% of the state, severe drought conditions have expanded to parts of every county in Connecticut. Moderate drought conditions remain mostly in New Haven and Fairfield counties. 

The continuing drought conditions and lack of rainfall are prompting communities across the state to enact mandatory water conservation measures.

Gov. Ned Lamont echoed the urgency Thursday, declaring stage three drought conditions for New London and Windham counties, meaning those areas are under what the state considers a "moderate drought." The last time Connecticut reached stage three drought conditions was October 2020.

Connecticut breaks down the severity of drought into five tiers, with stage five being "extreme drought."

RELATED: Putnam implements mandatory water ban for non-essential use

Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor
About 13% of Connecticut is now under extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Severe drought conditions have now expanded in the state as well.

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In late July, Southington's water department issued a mandatory lawn-watering schedule for residents. This week, Putnam issued a mandatory water ban for non-essential use, meaning residents cannot water their lawns, gardens, or use the water for washing their cars. East Lyme also implemented mandatory water restrictions this week. The town now has a twice-weekly irrigation schedule, and even more restrictions could be coming, officials said. 

According to the National Weather Service, Litchfield, Hartford, Tolland, and Windham counties are under an elevated fire danger warning due to the dry conditions.

RELATED: Severe drought impacts eastern Connecticut farms

The drought is also causing issues for farmers in Connecticut and across New England. This summer is a stark contrast to this time last year, whereby the state had seen two tropical systems (Elsa and Fred) dump an exorbitant amount of rain in mid-August – and we still had two more to follow. 

But for now, all is quiet in the tropics. 

Our next opportunity for rainfall is next week, Monday through Wednesday, with the chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms in the forecast. 

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Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jglatz@fox61.com.  

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