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Massachusetts Drought Monitor

The Massachusetts Drought monitor is a subset of the United States Monitor, issued every Thursday morning, based on drought conditions the previous Tuesday. The map below shows the current drought level around the state, and the percent of Massachusetts land area in each drought level compared to the previous week.

Read an explanation of the drought intensities and what they mean.

Massachusetts Drought Monitor

Massachusetts Hydrologic Information Statement

Note that if drought conditions are not being experienced, or in the case of river flooding or heavy rain, this statement may be used to indicate river flows or flood potential.

000
FGUS71 KBOX 191939
ESFBOX
CTC003-013-015-MAC001-005-007-009-011-013-015-017-019-021-023-025-
027-RIC001-003-005-007-009-211200-

WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA
339 PM EDT THU MAR 19 2015

...THE SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL IS ABOVE NORMAL IN SOUTHERN NEW 
ENGLAND...EXCEPT NEAR NORMAL ACROSS WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS AND NORTH 
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT...

THE SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL FOR RIVER AND STREAM FLOODING IN SOUTHERN 
NEW ENGLAND IS ABOVE NORMAL...EXCEPT NEAR NORMAL IN WESTERN 
MASSACHUSETTS AND NORTH CENTRAL CONNECTICUT. THE POTENTIAL FOR 
FLOODING DUE TO ICE JAMS IS ABOVE NORMAL.

THIS IS THE SEVENTH FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK OF THE 2015 
WINTER/SPRING SEASON.  FLOOD OUTLOOKS ARE ISSUED EVERY ONE TO TWO 
WEEKS INTO THE SPRING TO ASSESS THE POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING.  THE 
OUTLOOKS ARE BASED ON CURRENT AND FORECAST HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL 
CONDITIONS.  THIS INCLUDES SNOW COVER AND SNOW WATER 
EQUIVALENT...STREAM AND RIVER LEVELS AND THE AMOUNT OF ICE 
COVERAGE...ALONG WITH EXPECTED TEMPERATURES AND PRECIPITATION OVER 
THE NEXT TWO WEEKS.

...RECENT PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURES...

FROM LATE JANUARY INTO EARLY MARCH...SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND WAS 
BOMBARDED WITH A SERIES OF SNOWSTORMS COUPLED WITH WELL BELOW NORMAL 
TEMPERATURES. 

DURING THE FIRST HALF OF MARCH...THE ACTIVE WEATHER PATTERN WAS 
QUIETER BUT REMAINED COLDER THAN NORMAL OVERALL. PRECIPITATION WAS 
AVERAGING NEAR OR BELOW NORMAL...ON THE ORDER OF 1 TO 3 INCHES OF 
LIQUID EQUIVALENT. TEMPERATURES WERE UP SEVERAL DEGREES BELOW NORMAL.

...OBSERVED SNOW DEPTHS AND WATER EQUIVALENTS...

DURING THE PAST 2 WEEKS SNOW DEPTHS HAD DECREASED ACROSS MUCH OF 
SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND...BUT A ROBUST SNOW PACK REMAINED ACROSS MUCH 
OF THE AREA. 

ACROSS MASSACHUSETTS...WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE PIONEER VALLEY AND 
SOUTHEAST PORTION OF THE STATE...SNOW DEPTHS RANGED MOSTLY FROM 10 
TO 20 INCHES. CORRESPONDING SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT RANGED FROM 3 TO 7 
INCHES.  THIS WAS SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL IN WESTERN 
MASSACHUSETTS...BUT ABOVE NORMAL TO ANOMALOUSLY HIGH FOR MID MARCH 
ACROSS CENTRAL AND EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS.  
 
ACROSS THE LOWER ELEVATIONS OF THE PIONEER VALLEY...SNOW DEPTHS HAD 
DIMINISHED TO JUST A FEW INCHES WITH UP TO AN INCH OR SO OF WATER 
EQUIVALENT.

SNOW DEPTHS IN NORTHERN CONNECTICUT...NORTHERN RHODE ISLAND AND 
SOUTHEAST MASSACHUSETTS NORTH OF I-195 RANGED FROM SEVERAL INCHES TO 
JUST OVER A FOOT.  SNOW WATER EQUIVALENTS VARIED...BUT MOSTLY RANGED 
FROM 2 TO 5 INCHES.  THESE VALUES WERE WELL ABOVE NORMAL IN NORTHERN 
RHODE ISLAND AND SOUTHEAST MASSACHUSETTS...ANOMALOUSLY HIGH FOR MID 
MARCH...EXCEPT SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR IN NORTH 
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT. 

ALONG SOUTHERN RHODE ISLAND...THE IMMEDIATE SOUTH COAST OF 
MASSACHUSETTS...AND THE CAPE AND ISLANDS...SNOW DEPTH VARIED. 
CONDITIONS RANGED FROM BARE GROUND TO UP TO 4 TO 8 INCHES. SNOW 
WATER EQUIVALENT RANGED FROM ZERO TO ABOUT 3 INCHES. THIS WAS ABOVE 
NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR.

...RIVER AND ICE CONDITIONS... 

RIVER FLOWS INCREASED SUBSTANTIALLY ACROSS SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND 
DURING THE PAST WEEK...REFLECTING RECENT RAINFALL AS WELL AS 
SNOWMELT.  RIVER FLOWS HAD INCREASED TO NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR 
ACROSS MOST OF THE REGION...WITH A FEW GAGES RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL IN 
SOUTHEAST MASSACHUSETTS AND RHODE ISLAND.  A COMBINATION OF RAINFALL 
AND SNOWMELT BROUGHT THE PAWCATUCK RIVER AT WESTERLY ABOVE ACTION 
STAGE.
 
AS OF MARCH 19 MANY RIVERS AND STREAMS HAD EXPERIENCED A NOTEABLE 
DECREASE IN RIVER ICE. HOWEVER AS GENERAL RULE THERE WAS MUCH STILL 
MORE ICE THAN IS TYPICAL FOR MID MARCH WITHIN SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND. 
 
THE LOWER CONNECTICUT RIVER CONTINUED TO HAVE CONSIDERABLE ICE 
COVERAGE...BUT ICE MELT WAS NOTICEABLE AND STARTING TO OPEN UP AREAS 
OF THE RIVER THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY COMPLETELY OR NEARLY COMPLETELY 
FROZEN OVER. RECENT OBSERVATIONS OF THIS TREND INCLUDED THE 
NORTHAMPTON AND SPRINGFIELD AREAS.

ON THE NORTH NASHUA RIVER IN FITCHBURG ICE COVERAGE AS OF MARCH 12 
WAS NEAR 66 PERCENT WITH 6 TO 9 INCH THICKNESS OBSERVED THIS WEEK. 
DOWNSTREAM IN LEOMINSTER...AS OF MARCH 18 THE RIVER WAS ICE FREE.  
ICE FREE CONDITIONS WERE ALSO NOTED FURTHER DOWNSTREAM ON THE NASHUA 
RIVER IN BOLTON. 

RIVER ICE WILL CONTINUE TO DIMINISH DURING THE SECOND HALF OF MARCH 
DUE TO THE INCREASINGLY HIGH SUN ANGLE. ICE COULD REMAIN INTACT A 
BIT LONGER FARTHER INLAND DUE TO THE COLDER THAN NORMAL TEMPERATURES.

GIVEN THE CURRENT EXTENT OF RIVER ICE ON SOME AREA WATERWAYS...THE 
RIVER ICE JAM FLOOD THREAT IS ABOVE NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. 
ANY RAIN OR RAINFALL/SNOW MELT THAT PRODUCES A RISE OF 3 TO 4 FEET 
ON RIVERS AND STREAMS COULD CAUSE BREAKUP AND MOVEMENT OF RIVER 
ICE...AND BRING THE POTENTIAL FOR BREAK UP ICE JAMS. 

...SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS AND WATER SUPPLY...

OVER THE PAST WEEK...THE HIGHER SUN ANGLE...ACCOMPANIED BY SOME DAYS 
WITH TEMPERATURES CLOSE TO NORMAL...HAVE ENABLED MORE RIPENING OF 
THE SNOWPACK.  SNOWMELT HAD PRODUCED RUNOFF AND PERCOLATION/ 
INFILTRATION OF MOISTURE. SOIL MOISTURE IS NOW CLOSE TO NORMAL.

EXAMINING GROUNDWATER MONITORING WELLS ACROSS THE REGION COURTESY OF 
THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY ( USGS ) MOST AREAS HAVE NORMAL 
TO BELOW NORMAL GROUNDWATER LEVELS. 

WATER SUPPLY RESERVOIRS ARE GENERALLY AT NORMAL LEVELS FOR THIS TIME 
OF YEAR. THE SCITUATE RHODE ISLAND RESERVOIR HAD INCREASED TO 91.7 
PERCENT OF CAPACITY AS OF MARCH 19. AS OF MARCH 1 QUABBIN RESERVOIR 
WAS AT 95.4 PERCENT CAPACITY AND WACHUSETT RESERVOIR WAS AT 84.5 
PERCENT CAPACITY.

...TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK...

DURING FRIDAY INTO FRIDAY NIGHT...A QUICK MOVING SYSTEM WILL BRING 
SOME SNOW TO SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND. MAINLY LIGHT ACCUMULATIONS ARE 
EXPECTED. SOME SCATTERED RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS ARE POSSIBLE ON 
SATURDAY...THEN MAINLY DRY CONDITIONS ARE FORECAST FOR SUNDAY 
THROUGH NEXT TUESDAY.  ANOTHER LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM MAY BRING ANOTHER 
CHANCE FOR PRECIPITATION DURING THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK. 

TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO BE MAINLY BELOW NORMAL FOR MUCH OF THE 
NEXT 7 DAYS...WITH TEMPERATURES MODERATING TOWARDS NORMAL AROUND THE 
MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK.  THIS IS EXPECTED TO BRING CONTINUED GRADUAL 
SNOWMELT.   

THE OFFICIAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OUTLOOK FOR MARCH 26 TO APRIL 
1 CALLS FOR TEMPERATURES TO AVERAGE BELOW NORMAL. DURING THE SAME 
PERIOD PRECIPITATION IS FORECAST TO AVERAGE ABOVE NORMAL.

...SUMMARY...

BASED ON THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME...THE SPRING FLOOD 
POTENTIAL IS ABOVE NORMAL ACROSS CENTRAL AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF 
SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND. THE SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL IS NEAR NORMAL 
ACROSS WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS AND NORTH CENTRAL CONNECTICUT. 

RIVER FLOWS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR NORMAL.  SNOW DEPTHS AND WATER 
EQUIVALENTS ARE ABOVE TO MUCH ABOVE NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR 
ACROSS MUCH OF THE AREA...IN PARTICULAR ACROSS CENTRAL AND EASTERN 
MASSACHUSETTS...RHODE ISLAND...AND NORTHEAST CONNECTICUT. 
 
MELTING SNOW WILL RAISE RIVER LEVELS AND THAT WILL LEAVE THE REGION 
VERY VULNERABLE TO ANY MAJOR RAIN EVENTS RIGHT INTO APRIL. EVEN WITH 
NO LARGE RUNOFF EVENTS IN SIGHT...WITH SEVERAL INCHES OF WATER IN 
THE SNOWPACK...IT IS STILL POSSIBLE THAT WE WILL SEE FLOODING ACROSS 
PARTS OF THE AREA THIS SPRING. 

THE POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING DUE TO ICE JAMS IS ABOVE NORMAL ACROSS 
SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND. MANY RIVERS AND STREAMS HAVE LOST SUBSTANTIAL 
RIVER ICE...BUT AS A GENERAL RULE THERE SOME AREAS STILL HAD MUCH 
MORE ICE THAN IS TYPICAL FOR MID MARCH. 

RIVER ICE HAS BEEN ON THE DECLINE ACROSS SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND...BUT 
SOME AREA WATERWAYS STILL HAVE CONSIDERABLE ICE COVERAGE.  OVER THE 
NEXT 2 WEEKS RIVER ICE WILL CONTINUE TO ROT AND DECAY.  HOWEVER... 
UNTIL THE ICE CLEARS OUT...RIVERS AND STREAMS ARE VULNERABLE TO ICE 
JAMS IF SUBSTANTIAL RUNOFF OCCURS. 

KEEP IN MIND THAT HEAVY RAIN CAN CAUSE FLOODING ANY TIME OF THE 
YEAR...EVEN WITHOUT A SNOWPACK. THOSE WITH INTERESTS ALONG RIVERS 
AND STREAMS SHOULD CHECK THE HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK...WHICH 
HIGHLIGHTS ANY POTENTIAL FLOOD EVENTS OVER THE NEXT 7 DAYS. GO TO 
WEATHER.GOV/BOSTON AND CLICK ON THE OPTION CURRENT HAZARDS...THEN 
CLICK ON LOCAL OUTLOOK.

THE NEXT SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED ON THURSDAY 
APRIL 2.

$$

NMB

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