July's rain rejuvenates Maine coast, but drought persists inland

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Jul. 22—Coastal Maine is no longer considered to be abnormally dry after a stretch of soggy July weather soaked the region and replenished depleted streams and aquifers.

But interior parts of the state remain abnormally dry at best, with regions farthest from the coast still experiencing moderate or severe drought, according to the latest report.

The U.S. Drought Monitor posted updated drought information Thursday that showed significant improvement in conditions along the coast after a long dry spell. Most of the state, including the coastal region, has been considered abnormally dry or in the midst of a drought during most of last year and this year.

Precipitation levels remain below normal for 2021 overall for the entire state. July, however, has been unusually wet along the coast, with more than three times the normal rainfall in Portland so far this month. Portland recorded 7.34 inches of rain in the first 21 days of July. The average for the same period is 2.35 inches.

"The coast has, I guess, been lucky in a sense. ... They've gotten quite a bit of rain over the last month or so," said Nicholas Stasulis, data section chief of the U.S. Geological Survey and co-chairman of the Maine Drought Task Force.

"But the central part of the state really has missed out," Stasulis said. "A lot of cases where the coast may have gotten up to three inches, that northwestern corner of the state where New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada (come together), they have gotten a half an inch, which certainly hasn't gotten them out of the deficit that they've been in since the beginning of the year (and) in the last year."

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