Even a miserable and wet March hasn’t entirely pulled Maine out of the drought that began last summer.

The southern tip of York County is still experiencing moderate drought, while most of Down East and a great swath of land that reaches nearly to Houlton in Aroostook County are still abnormally dry, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The storm arriving Friday and continuing into April Fools’ Day is expected to bring heavy snow and plenty of moisture, which could further ease conditions. Even so, Tom Gordon, a member of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry’s emergency task force on the drought, is not ready to declare the drought over.

“The recent (and impending) snowstorms are adding moisture to the ground,” Gordon said. “We still have some dry areas along the New Hampshire border, but the situation is much improved.”

The months ahead will be key.

“If the spring and early summer are dry, problems may persist,” he said.

By late September, more than 1 million Mainers were living in drought. Wells ran dry and the Maine Emergency Management Agency said $450,000 in emergency funding had been designated to help low-income residents drill new wells. The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared five counties disaster areas, with farmers within those regions eligible for relief from the Farm Service Agency.

About 55,000 Mainers are living in drought conditions still, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

But maps using data by the monitoring agency show that of the New England states, Maine is in a better situation than most. New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut all have regions still in severe drought conditions.

Mary Pols can be contacted at 791-6456 or at:

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