The Meduxnekeag River in Houlton was extremely low due to the drought conditions in Aroostook County in August 2021. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

“Severe drought” conditions have ended in Maine for the first time since last summer when some of Maine’s rivers were at their lowest levels in decades.

As of Thursday, 21.43 percent of Maine is “abnormally dry” with 5.9 percent experiencing “moderate drought,” impacting northern Oxford, Franklin, Somerset and Piscataquis counties and western Aroostook County. The rest of the state is not experiencing drought, according to Drought Monitor.  

The last time the state was not in “severe drought” was on June 16, 2021, when 100 percent of the state was “abnormally dry” and 40.38 percent was in “moderate drought.”

With “severe drought” especially crops are impacted in yield and size; producers begin feeding cattle; air quality is poor; and warnings are issued on outdoor burns, reports.  

Though not as severe as the drought in the summer of 2020, about three-quarters of the total land area in Maine had at least abnormally dry conditions, and some areas were in severe drought last year.

Drought is the top risk factor for the state’s agricultural economy, which produces more than 1.2 billion dollars of food and fiber products annually, according to the Maine Emergency Management Agency.