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Massachusetts goes from drought watch to flood watch

Most of Massachusetts no longer under drought

White on the left means no drought, green on the right means flood potential.

The latest Massachusetts drought map, released this morning, shows that last week's rain and snow finally tipped a third of the state from drought watch to not at all droughty - and that another third of the state is "abnormally dry," the lowest of the drought classifications.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued flood warnings along the Assabet and Taunton rivers - and a flood watch for the rest of the state, through 8 p.m. on Friday:

Widespread 0.75 to 1.50 inches of rain are expected through early this evening with localized 2"+ amounts possible. Recent rainfall has caused significant rises in area rivers and streams. This will likely result in some minor river and stream flooding developing later today into Friday.

In addition, there is also potential for moderate urban and poor drainage flooding with heightened concerned during the evening rush hour. Rainfall rates up to 1 inch per hour are possible in any thunderstorms.

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thats great news

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tomato's!

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His tomato's what?

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or experience the scourge of water restrictions and the dire affect on local tomato jihadists.

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*effect.

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It is an act of resistance to the increasing ubiquity of the greengrocers' apostrophe in contemporary discourse.

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The "48 pleasant hours in a row watch" monitor slowly acquires another layer of dust

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We kind of pulled a California, going from drought to flood, but (hopefully) without the extremes on either end that CA endured.

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But we ain't out of the woods yet!

The remaining problem is groundwater recharge. The snow helps that. Downpours? Not so much. Downpours run off and help stream flow and are filling reservoirs, but we need more recovery underground before this is over.

The drought task force meeting next week is going to be fun I'm sure. There is justified fear of a repeat of the double dip drought of the mid sixties.

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As long as the Quabbin fills up, I don't need no stinking groundwater here in Boston.

You're also ignoring the benefit of increased Charles and Neponset river flow in pushing water farther offshore and therefore reducing ocean level rise in the Harbor.

[clarification for the easily outraged - this is a joke.]

Side hydrology note - are the Charles and Neponset River watersheds technically the same watershed due to the Mother Brook connector?

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It was at 82.9% of capacity on April 1, up from 81.1% on March 1 and 79.9% on Feb. 1. Upward is good, although also noteworthy is that on April 1 of last year, it was at 91.7% of capacity, while on April 1, 2015, it was 94.9% full. So, like the Quabbin, we're not out of the woods, ahem.

Quabbin stats back to 2005.

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Anything above 80% is considered normal for the Quabbin.

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Sorry, my comment was directed to Vaughn K. I should have quoted him for clarity.

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Those who have wells care about groundwater levels. It's not all about you.

Just sayin'

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1) I expect that the comment you're replying to was meant to be tongue in cheek.
2) I do have a well, and I never had a problem all last year (or ever), but my well is a nice deep artesian well and not a shallow scrape. I wouldn't have it any other way, particularly if I lived in southeast MA, which often gets pretty dry.

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The vast majority of the city's valuable residentisl property sits on wooden pilings that need to remain submerged or the rot, the buildings sag and then they crack which vastly reduces their value. Not just Back Bay, but many other parts of the city.

This is no joke. The proximity of the Charles and Harbor helps a lot, but we still need rain and there are public monitoring wells all over that the city pays for because that lovely 4.8% increase in the budget we just got might turn to minus 4.8% if this ever got severe. This is literally one of the biggest financial risks to the city.

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1) Both of you missed the part where I CLEARLY stated my post was a joke. C'est la vie.

2) Murph, pretty sure everyone in Boston is on the Quabbin system so wells are not an issue in Boston.

3) Millenium, Mandarin, Fort Point area buildings, various Fenway tower blocks, etc... are not sitting on wooden anything nor is West Roxbury, Dorchester, or parts of Beacon Hill. Vast majority is huge overstatement I suspect. Also this seems like an issue/risk for the insurance companies that cover those buildings and very much not my problem as a Roslindale resident. Sea level rise flooding Logan Airport, etc... is a way, way bigger financial risk, no? Is the city responsible for the geological condition of my lot? If so, I'd like to talk to someone about a retaining wall I need to get fixed.

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We can be concerned for people NOT in Boston.

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Words escape me.

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1) Took it more as uncaring sarcasm than a joke. Fair enough. But less funny when you live in the Groundwater Overlay District -GCOD.

2) partly fair enough that it may not be the vast majority. I was referring to downtown real estate, not many of the areas you are mentioning Yes - newer buildings are not in wood, but geographically pretty much all of Back Bay, Fenway, south end, chinatown. Leather district, bulfinch, the flat of Beacon Hill, Bay Village and waterfront in the North End. That doesn't leave much other large residential downtown neighborhoods. Beacon hill proper, Roxbury, North and West ends are the only major downtown residential areas NOT in the GCOD.

The point is, groundwater is a Bernie Sanders level HUGE issue for the city today, unlike rising sea levels that might be a problem someday. Damage from low groundwater is not insurable and fixing it costs literally hundreds of thousands of dollars per building. Fortunately not common, but it strikes fear in the hearts of even wealthy downtown owners when you tell them they are in a "hot zone" of low groundwater (usually caused by leaky sewer pipes, not low rain levels except in extreme droughts like last year).

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Ok, many wealthy real estate owners would take a short term hit of hundreds of thousands of dollars but lots of the land in question is owned by very rich people. There would likely be a short term dip in real estate values in those neighborhoods and then the problem would be addressed. I don't see where I am at financial risk as a city tax payer long term. Sure, it sucks for those impacted just as it would suck for me if the large tree next to my house fell onto it.

Last year was a historic drought, which has largely be offset by the recent rain. Were landowners in the Back Bay spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix their problems? I don't think so. Also, if this is a known problem, isn't it incumbent on the owners to budget for resolving these issues? Again, if my retaining wall is slowly falling over, that's on me to budget for eventual repair of that, no?

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But if it hit a large swath of the older stock on pilings - and values dropped - at the very least you would see taxes getting pushed up in other parts of the city - because the taxes still need to get paid under our system. Basically, the terra firma parts of the city - no matter what happened to their house values - would have to pay more taxes.

The history is probably the most telling. The city was going to ignore the problem - because they thought what you did. Someone went in and showed them the numbers behind what might happen if there was a large scale problem - and the city immediately funded a trust to establish and monitor wells to keep tabs on the problem and prioritizes any signs of sewer leaks in those areas because what might cost a few million a year to maintain would cost them many many times that in lost revenue if they didn't keep tabs on it.

Here's the thing - it's not insurable, and it's not inevitable. It's only a problem if there's a problem (which for now is why you rarely hear about it). Nobody is going to set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars for this because if everyone does their job, there should never be a problem in our lifetime - and many lifetimes to come. It's not something that happens overnight either - it can take years - or decades for the problem to emerge - but when it does it's a major holy crap moment. I believe this started to be an issue about 15-20 years ago because people noticed it was happening more and more often (a lot in the South End and flat of Beacon Hill I believe) and that the problem was spreading. The reason you don't hear about it is because of the incredible work that's been done since to patch leaks (with interesting new technology*), monitor wells and new construction requirements to put runoff back in the ground instead of the sewer system.

It gets no publicity - and it's NOT a huge issue. However, last year's drought was a bad enough that it raised worries for the first time since I've known about this due to lack of rainfall (sewer, subway, rail cuts and road tunnels - Storrow! - are the worst offenders).

*My understanding is they install a tube of resin infused felt into a leaky area of the sewer, then they blow hot compressed air in so the felt takes the shape of the sewer and the resin melts. As the fans run, they slowly cool the air - the resin hardens and essentially you have a very cheap way of relining 100-year-old sewers until they really have to dig it up and replace it.

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Stevil, you need to get out more. Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Brighton, most of Dorchester- these areas have very little made land, so our foundations are on solid ground.

That said, good point about those places that do need good groundwater to keep the foundations strong. It's just that it is a small area in terms of number of buildings and residents.

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Reference was to downtown residential neighborhhods only.

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n/t

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The last week or so, my sump pump has been busily keeping the ground water from coming up into my basement. The recent prolonged light rain and slow melt of the last storm has mostly gone into the ground, I think, rather than running off into streams.

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Its the Pioneer Valley and Berkshires that are having problems with this still.

The Drought Declarations are zone-based. You may be fine, but the entire state is not out of the drought just yet.

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Its the Pioneer Valley and Berkshires that are having problems with this still.

I know that the map shows all kinds of exciting colors, but if you actually visit the Pioneer Valley, you'll find standing water in quite a few fields. Farmers local to me would prefer a little warm and dry weather right about now.

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Good thing I took a trip down to the Carolinas.

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Important Alert: Due to a processing and dissemination error, an incorrect U.S. Drought Monitor map was posted this morning. A new map has posted and data and statistics are being updated all data will be posted by 10:30 CST. This new map posting at 9:30 CST supersedes the map posted this morning. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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What we really need relief from are people who have to open their pie holes every time we've got more filth weather and say "BUT WE NEED THE RAIIIIIIN!!!"

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But we really do NEED the rain!

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No, right now we need a little dry weather so that farmers can get their fields ready. And we never need deluges; they do little good.

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Create 'English Muffin' Alert Levels for rain storms.

It's only natural. :-)

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Is an english muffin pizza acceptable?

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NEVER!

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