I have archived the November 2016 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable feature of the November chart, like most of the other charts this past summer and fall, is how slow the lake level has been responding to rainfall. I am dismayed at the abysmal rate Clary Lake is filling up this fall and I’m sure a lot of you share that sentiment. Despite having received what seems like a “reasonable” amount of rain over the past two months, the lake level stubbornly refuses to rise as expected. The lake dropped to 60″ below the high water mark back on July 27th and continued from there to drop to a record low of -67.25″ on October 8th. Since then we’ve received 7.31″ of rain which has brought the lake up only a hair over 7″ to -60.17″ below the high water mark on the last day of the month. In a “normal” year that much rain would have brought the lake up the better part of 30 inches or more.
This strange behavior is wholly attributable to the drought conditions prevailing generally in the Northeast this year and in Maine specifically, conditions which are projected to continue into the near future (see this Forecast graphic). For much of the late summer and early fall we were in EXTREME drought category “D3″ but thanks to some modest fall rains, conditions have improved somewhat and we’re now in SEVERE drought category D2. That said, people with low or dry wells haven’t noticed much of an improvement yet. We’re currently about 7” short of rainfall for our area and the water table is still severely depressed.
As we close out November 2016 having just received over 1″ of rain with even more due tomorrow, the lake level is paused to rise above 60″ below the normal high water mark for the first time in over 4 months, making this past summer and fall the longest stretch of the lowest recorded water levels since I started recording water levels in December 2011. Only twice in the last 5 years has the lake level fallen 60″ or more below the normal high water mark, the last time being during the Fall of 2015. It came real close to -60″ in late April 2012 but never fell below the 5 foot mark.