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    Monday, November 28, 2022

    Don’t expect Conn. to drop drought warnings soon

    Recent rain has cut the Hartford area’s deficit, but the state’s drought warnings will remain in effect for at least another two weeks.

    Meteorologist Alan Dunham of the National Weather Service in Norton, Mass., said the rain deficit at Bradley International Airport is down about 1 inch below normal for the year. In mid-July, he said rainfall in the Hartford area had been down a little more than 2 inches since June 1.

    Connecticut’s Interagency Drought Workgroup, with representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Emergency Services and Public Protection, Energy and Environmental Protection, Public Health and Office of Policy and Management, is scheduled to meet Oct. 6 to review drought conditions.

    Officials consider more than rainfall when making a recommendation to Gov. Ned Lamont, OPM spokesman Chris Collibee said. Stream flow, groundwater and reservoir levels, the condition of crops and the danger of fire are considerations, he said.

    “Drought conditions go well beyond significant rainfall,” Collibee said.

    Connecticut Water Co. in Clinton still encourages water conservation, particularly in the shoreline towns of Clinton, Guilford, Madison and Old Saybrook, spokesman Daniel Meaney said.

    “The recent rain has helped, but it has not made a big difference (in the) available water supply,” he said. “We are more or less maintaining reservoir levels.”

    Manchester reservoirs were at 72.4% capacity as of Tuesday, according to the Water Department. At 70% capacity, the town requests voluntary conservation measures, typically related to outdoor use. At 60% capacity, the Water Department requests mandatory use restrictions that typically ban outdoor water use.

    The U.S. Drought Monitor says most of Connecticut is in moderate drought, with the southeastern corner, much of the shoreline and western Connecticut are in a severe drought.

    On Sept. 12, Lamont asked federal agriculture officials to declare two more Connecticut counties disaster areas. He said New London and Windham counties recorded extreme drought conditions with crop losses of at least 30%. A designation will make low-interest federal emergency loans available for eligible producers.

    Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland counties are contiguous and farmers in the five counties are eligible for consideration of certain emergency assistance, such as low-interest loans, from the Farm Service Agency.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture last month declared New London and Windham counties natural disaster areas.

    Storms on Thursday were expected to be the last appreciable rainfall for a while in central and northern Connecticut. Rain is not expected until possibly Tuesday, with a 40% chance of light showers, according to the National Weather Service.

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