The latest U.S. Drought Monitor puts nearly all of New Jersey in some stage of drought.

The very northern and southern counties, including all of Cape May County, are now considered to be in a severe drought. The severe drought area also expanded to include all of Middlesex County, Union and Somerset counties.

The latest map does not take into account the rain that fell Tuesday afternoon.

"The drought story just keeps getting worse, as over a quarter of the state is now classified in Severe Drought. I'm actually surprised we have not progressed to mandatory water restrictions yet," New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said.

The Department of Environmental Protection did not make any change Thursday to its Drought Watch, which was issued August 9. The watch urges residents and businesses to conserve water use.

The capacity of New Jersey's major reservoirs continues to drop, according to the DEP. The combined Round Valey-Spruce Run reservoirs are just below 60%, the Veolia Reservoir and North Jersey District reservoirs were below 70%.

"We’re continuing to monitor. At this point, we’ll need multiple soaking rain events just to get back to average," DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said.

Only the northern parts of Burlington and Gloucester counties are not in any stage of drought.

Trees and grass impacted by excessively dry conditions on Livingston Campus at Rutgers University in Piscataway
Trees and grass impacted by excessively dry conditions on Livingston Campus at Rutgers University in Piscataway (D.Robinson)

The prospect of rain

Meanwhile, as the calendar transitions from the summer monsoon season to the drier fall and winter months there is no significant rain coming, according to Zarrow.

"Barring a surprise tropical development, we'll be lucky to pick up an inch of rain over the next two to three weeks," Zarrow said.

The forecast for the Labor Day holiday weekend calls for partly to mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the 80s. There's a chance of showers and thunderstorms developing on Sunday and Monday.

Tropical Storm Danielle, the season's first named hurricane, will likely stay in the Atlantic Ocean and not impact the U.S., according to the National Hurricane Center.

Two other disturbances in the Atlantic are being watched for possible development

Drought map issued 9/1/22
Drought map issued 9/1/22 (NOAA)

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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