MAINE, USA — After experiencing an abnormally dry season this past summer, Maine is finally seeing relief from drought conditions.
It was the third consecutive year Maine has experienced a drought. And while summertime typically brings dryness to fields and crops, farmers felt the effects substantially this year.
For one farm in Saco, tough harvesting decisions had to be made amid severely low water levels. Farmers with Leary Farm told NEWS CENTER Maine back at the beginning of August that the farm's water supply was down 15 to 20 feet -- something they had only seen happen once before.
And it wasn't just Mainers in the agriculture industry that felt the effects of the drought. Groundwater supply at the homes of some Mainers also suffered.
Members of the public had the opportunity to report their dry wells through the Dry Well Survey created by the Maine Drought Task Force.
In 2022 alone, 96 dry wells were reported, with the most reported in Cumberland County, according to the Dry Well Survey website. The total number of dry wells reported for the 2021-22 year was 117. The last dry well reported this year was on Sept. 17.
As summer faded away and fall kicked into gear, Mainers slowly began to feel relief from the long drought.
Maine's fall foliage was a success, though much of the colors on leaves were spotty and patchy due to the drought.
Seasonal crops this fall also suffered the consequences of the summer's drought, including apples, pumpkins, and gourds. Certain varieties may have dropped too quickly or grown too late because of the conditions.
Some apples may have experienced a calcium deficiency. But the apple trees in the state that have stood for years and years and have strong, deep roots are able to withstand drought, soaking up groundwater deep down.
The good news is conditions have improved in Maine. On Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor updated its map for the state, shining a light on the fact that the state is now nearly 100 percent drought-free.
All that remains is a sliver of the Maine coastline in the "abnormally dry" category. The rest of the state is back to normal conditions.
There is light -- and rain -- at the end of the tunnel after all.