The latest weekly drought map of Rhode Island was released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the news is not good.
The D3, or “extreme drought," designation has spread northward, affecting the entire state with the exception of the very northern tip and Block Island. D3 is the second-highest USDA-designated drought intensity, second only to D4, or “exceptional” drought.
A statewide drought advisory, issued one week ago by Gov. Gina Raimondo, cited the four indices that the state uses to declare a drought: precipitation, streamflow, groundwater and the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which measures a combination of soil moisture, precipitation and temperature.
State meteorologist Leonard Giuliano sits on the state's Drought Steering Committee, which asked the governor to issue the advisory when it determined that all the drought indices had been met.