Much of the state now under extreme drought - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Much of the state now under extreme drought

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Dark red - extreme drought, orange - severe drought, yellow - moderate drought. ( photo) Dark red - extreme drought, orange - severe drought, yellow - moderate drought. ( photo)

A good portion of Connecticut is now under an extreme drought, according to a national drought monitoring group.

The National Drought Mitigation Center out of Lincoln, NE put most the northwestern Connecticut under the extreme drought classification.

The classification included most of Litchfield and Hartford counties, along with northern portions of Fairfield, New Haven and Middlesex counties. Northwestern Tolland County is also included.

Southern Fairfield and New Haven counties remain under a severe drought.

All of Windham and New London counties are under a moderate drought.

The center said that the monitor focuses on broad-scale conditions. It said local conditions may vary.

These conditions could impact some businesses, like Christmas tree farms.

At Staehly Farm and Winery in East Haddam, they lost more than half their tree crop this year. While they won't see that loss now, they could in the future.

"It had affected more the smaller trees we planted in the spring time. In the dry field, we have up to 70 percent loss of what we planted," said Chris Staehly, owner of the farm.

He says it can take up to 10 years for a tree to grow upwards of 8 feet. so, the crop loss this year could be felt almost a decade away, but to make up for this year's loss, he hopes to plant more trees in the spring.

“Because of these weather patterns happening, there's not as many smaller seedlings available, but we hope to get those and we will expand and hope to keep building the business,” Staehly said.

The last time the state saw any significant rain was Tuesday, but it wasn't enough to put a dent in water deficits. Some places collected a couple of inches, according to the Early Warning Forecast Center.

The next chance for precipitation is Saturday night into Sunday.

"[A] cold front will sweep through the state Saturday night with showers, but rainfall totals will be unimpressive," said meteorologist Scot Haney.

The rain showers could change to snow showers in the higher elevations, but it should only be a light coating at best.

Most of Sunday will be dry.

For more information on the state's drought, click here.

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