Heavy rainfall poured over Southeastern Massachusetts on Monday, while lighter showers fell around Boston and surrounding regions, bringing a measure of relief amid a prolonged drought that has led to wildfires scattered across the state.
Communities on the western side of Cape Cod and up the South Coast saw multiple inches of rainfall, while the Boston area and the North Shore got about a half-inch of rain or less, according to Kyle Pederson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton.
The precipitation was welcome after weeks of dry and hot weather, and another period of rain could come later this week, forecasters said.
Still, a long and steady period of rainfall is what the state needs to pull out of this drought, said Vandana Rao, the state’s director of water policy and chairperson of the drought task force.
“This rain event is a blessing,” Rao said in a phone interview Monday. “We’ll take whatever we can get ... [but] we still have a long way to go.”
Nearly 40 percent of Massachusetts is experiencing extreme drought, according to the US Drought Monitor. Before Monday, Boston had seen about 1.44 inches of rain in the past month, according to the weather service. Rao said the average is usually around 4 inches per month.
“We need events like [Monday], which is slow and sustained rain that is around for some period of time and recharges our ground water and slowly starts to replenish our streams as well,” Rao added.
The state’s drought task force will meet Tuesday morning and hear updated information on stream-flow and ground-water levels, she said.
Plymouth was doused with about 2.6 inches of rain as of Monday evening, most of it coming from a heavy downpour in the morning that dropped about 2 inches of precipitation over the course of an hour and a half, the National Weather Service said.
“We had a big cell kind of just sit there for an hour or two,” he said. The cell moved in around 9 a.m. and poured over the town until it began to taper off by about 11 a.m., Pederson said.
Dean DelTorto, battalion chief at the Plymouth Fire Department, said the department responded to calls Monday reporting flooded basements.
“We’ve had several calls for basements fill up, and the roads were overwhelmed for a period,” he said.
Flooding was also reported in Bourne along Route 6 heading east, with some cars becoming stuck in the water, according to State Police. The weather service said parts of Sandwich received 3 to 4 inches of rain.
Boston saw just about 0.4 inches of rain, while Worcester was approaching 0.6 inches Monday night, Pederson said.
Fire departments on the North Shore and in the Metro-West region, where wildfires have been flaring up in recent days and weeks, also welcomed the cloudy skies and precipitation but said more rain is needed to put out the hot spots that remain.
The rain nearly extinguished a wildfire that has burned across 25 acres at the Desert Conservation Area in Marlborough, according to the Marlborough Fire Department. Crews were still putting out hot spots on Monday.
“After today’s rainfall we hope to have all hot spots extinguished,” the department said in a Facebook post. “MFD crews will continue to monitor the area throughout the week.”
At Lynn Woods Reservation, a wildfire that was discovered last week was smoldering Monday evening after burning through 86 acres of land, according to the Lynn Fire Department.
An 11-acre fire at the Georgetown-Rowley State Forest that crews have been battling since last week was 100 percent contained as of 5 p.m. Monday, a spokesman for the Georgetown Fire Department said.
The fire, which was spotted by a State Police helicopter on Thursday, was still smoldering Monday night and crews planned to return to the area Tuesday morning to continue putting out hot spots. The fire is located north of the Pingree Farm Access Road.
While the rainfall was a welcome break, it will take a lot more to put any dent in the drought, Rao said.
“I’m thankful because there have been many times where the forecast indicated rain and there were some clouds, but we didn’t necessarily see the water, so this is a welcome change,” she said. “It remains to be seen how much this stabilizes some regions.”
Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
[Tonight] Showers and thunderstorms will taper off overnight, but skies will remain cloudy. Low temperatures tonight will level off in the mid to upper 60s. More showers and thunderstorms are possible tomorrow, but not as widespread. #MAWX #CTWX #RIWX pic.twitter.com/A5JCKs71M8
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