Droughts are a part of climate, just like hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Unlike the other hazards that affect the state, droughts can impact large areas and last for months, or even years. A drought is defined as the lack of soil moisture over a period of time. This lack of moisture can be due to reduced precipitation, increased evaporation and/or transpiration, or higher temperatures. It can also be caused by a combination of all of these causes.
You can learn more about the history and current drought conditions in Massachusetts by visiting the National Drought Monitor or the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Drought Information page.
Numerous droughts stand out for having a significant impact in Massachusetts due to the area affected and the duration of the droughts; the droughts of 1929-32, 1998-44, 1961-69, and 1980-83. During these droughts, lack of rainfall caused streamflows along some of the major river systems across the state to be the lowest on record, causing water resource shortages and loss of agricultural crops. Examine the precipitation chart on Slide 14 to see if you can find these droughts reflected in the data.