Drought conditions

From October 2020: An electronic sign in the area of Front Street in Exeter advises residents of the outdoor watering ban as extreme drought conditions persist.

Moderate drought conditions have expanded across all of northern New Hampshire while dry weather in the southern half of the state has prompted calls for water conservation.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday, nearly 41% of the state is now in a moderate drought compared to just over 7% a week ago.

The areas seeing the drought conditions include all of Coos County and portions of Carroll, Grafton and Sullivan counties.

With the exception of extreme southern New Hampshire, the rest of the state is experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions — a level just below moderate drought.

This spring has been the driest since 2016, according to William Watson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

Concord has recorded 12.13 inches of precipitation so far this year, which is 4.76 inches below normal.

A few showers are possible Friday night with more rounds of wet weather beginning Sunday and lasting into early next week.

“It may not be drought-busting rain, but possibly some significant rainfall if we do get a few rounds over those two to four days. There’s still quite a bit of detail to work out over that period. It’s not immediate relief, but possibly something to keep it from getting any worse,” he said.

In response to the dry spell and recent heat wave, the city of Portsmouth on Monday began asking customers on the city and Pease International Tradeport water systems to voluntarily conserve water.

Portsmouth may place mandatory restrictions on non-essential water use if the dry weather continues, the city said in a statement.

Seabrook town officials also announced a voluntary water ban this week.

Hampton-based Aquarion Water Company is asking customers in Hampton, North Hampton, and Rye to conserve water and reduce non-essential outdoor water use as well.

The company said Wednesday that customers are being asked to water lawns and gardens no more than two days per week to maintain sufficient water supplies for human consumption and fire protection.

“As New Hampshire continues to face drought conditions, we are urging customers to reduce their water use. With two weeks to go before the first day of summer, and several months of hot, dry weather being forecast, conserving water now will reduce the possibility of mandatory water restrictions later,” said Carl McMorran, Aquarion’s New Hampshire operations manager.

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