Northeast Drought Early Warning Update
Drought Early Warning Update for the

December 18, 2020

Abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions persist in some areas of the Northeast but improvements continue.

(A note for our readers: This will be the last update of 2020.)
This Drought Early Warning Update is issued in partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to communicate concern for drought expansion and intensification within the Northeast U.S. based on recent conditions and the forecasts and outlooks. NIDIS and its partners will issue future Drought Early Warning Updates as conditions evolve.

This covers the following states in the Northeast U.S.: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York.

Key Points

  • Severe Drought (D2) remains in a small area of southeastern New Hampshire.
  • Abnormally Dry (D0) to Moderate Drought (D1) conditions continue in some areas of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.
  • Improvements were seen in central and eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut, and in all of Rhode Island.
  • Groundwater recovery is evident in many areas of New England, but has not occurred in many areas of New Hampshire and New York.  
State Reported Impacts
State Drought committees and task forces have adjourned until the new year or spring 2021. Most will continue to monitor conditions - particularly groundwater recharge.

Awareness, preparedness, and water conservation should still be practiced. 
Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions

  • Severe drought (D2) conditions exist in 1% of the Northeast.
  • Moderate drought (D1) conditions exist in 20% of the region.
  • Abnormally dry (D0) conditions exist in 24% of the region.
December 15, 2020, U.S. Drought Monitor Map:
Additional Resources

  • NOAA Regional Climate Services Monthly Webinar Series (January 28 next webinar):

Contacts for More Information

Regional Drought Information Coordinator (Northeast DEWS)
NOAA/CIRES/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

Ellen L. Mecray
Regional Climate Services Director, Eastern Region
NOAA/NESDIS/National Centers for Environmental Information
Prepared By
Sylvia Reeves
NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

Samantha Borisoff, Jessica Spaccio, Keith Eggleston, Art DeGaetano
Northeast Regional Climate Center

Ellen Mecray
Regional Climate Services Director, Eastern Region, NOAA

David Hollinger and Maria Janowiak
USDA Climate Hubs

Gardner Bent
USGS/New England Water Science Center

In partnership with National Weather Service Offices of the Northeast and State Climate Offices of the Northeast.