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General Statements from the State Reclamation & Mosquito Control Board – 2016


Epi week #39, Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

Very cool nights kept collections down for this past week. Many parts of the state saw precipitation, but it is likely too late in the season for this to have any impact. Epi Week 40 will be the final week for mosquito testing for 2016, and as you will note in the last section of this report, several districts/projects have already ended trapping for the season.

 

Weather:

 

Once again, drought conditions did not change over the past week, leaving more than 50% of the state in Extreme Drought (red), and nearly the entire state at a minimum of Moderate Drought (peach). At this point, for long-term drought relief, we would need several days of a slow steady soaking rain. Hurricane Matthew is now predicted to have minimal if any impact on New England; MDAR’s weather expert notes that it is possible but unlikely that the storm will swing up the coast at the end of Epi Week 41. For now, expect the abnormally warm daytime temperatures to end during Columbus Day weekend, with a possibility of them returning at the end of Epi Week 41.

 

 

For Epi Week 39, the southeast part of the state, including the islands, received significant rain, with parts of the Cape and Bristol County maxing out at over 3 inches and Nantucket topping 4 inches of precipitation. Most of the rest of the state received at least half an inch of rain.

 

 

Epi week #38, Sept. 18-24, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

The season continued to quiet down during Epi Week 38. Though some districts/projects did see increases in levels of certain species, following the arrival of scattered precipitation, overall numbers were down, and a few projects are already ending surveillance for the season due to a lack of mosquito activity. The last date to submit mosquitoes for testing is October 6th.

 

Weather:

 

Once again, drought conditions did not change over the past week, leaving more than 50% of the state in Extreme Drought (red), and nearly the entire state at a minimum of Moderate Drought (peach). At this point, for long-term drought relief, we would need several days of a slow steady soaking rain. MDAR’s weather expert is currently keeping an eye on recently formed Tropical Storm Matthew, though any potential impact we could see from this storm won’t happen until at least the middle of Epi Week 40. For now, expect to continue to see lots of clouds and some rain, but no significant accumulation.

 

 

For Epi Week 38, we finally got some green on the precipitation map, with more than 3 inches of rain received in parts of northern Worcester and eastern Franklin County, and also the upper Cape. Unfortunately the significant accumulation missed most of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Bristol Counties, where the majority of the state’s extreme drought conditions are occuring:

 

 

Epi week #37, Sept. 11-17, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

The season continued to quiet down during Epi Week 37, with another drop in number of mosquitoes submitted for arbovirus testing. While there were no changes to DPH’s WNV or EEEv risk levels, a third human case of WNV was reported. Note that even with the decrease in mosquito pools submitted, the percentage of WNV in those pools increased to 9%, a further indication that the virus is prevalent in mosquito populations this season. The last date to submit mosquitoes for testing is October 6th.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions did not change over the past week, which unfortunately means that more than 50% of the state is still in Extreme Drought (red), and nearly the entire state at a minimum of Moderate Drought (peach). At this point, for long-term drought relief, we would need several days of a slow steady soaking rain. The tropics remain active (we’re up to “L” on the alphabet of storm naming), but any recently formed systems are predicted to not impact us as they go out to sea.

 

 

Epi Week 37 brought very little rain, with just a few of the weather stations that we track for this map even receiving more than a third of an inch of precipitation:

 

 

Epi week #36, Sept. 4-10, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

The season got very quiet during Epi Week 36, with a drastic drop in mosquitoes collected. While there were no changes to DPH’s WNV or EEEv risk levels, there was a second human case of WNV announced, a man in his 70s from Norfolk County whose symptoms began during Epi Week 35. Also note that though collections were down, the percentage of WNV in what was collected was still at 5%, a further indication that the virus is prevalent in mosquito populations this season. As mosquito activity continues to ramp down, DPH has announced that the last date to submit mosquitoes for testing is October 6th.

 

Weather:

 

Unfortunately, drought conditions have continued to expand in Massachusetts, with more than 50% of the state in Extreme Drought (red), and nearly the entire state at a minimum of Moderate Drought (peach). At this point, for long-term drought relief, we would need several days of a slow steady soaking rain. Random periodic showers are likely this weekend, but this will not be enough. While the tropics are quite active, it does not appear any systems will be affecting our weather any time in the near future.

 

Epi Week 36 brought little rain to the state, with the greatest accumulation on the islands, thanks to post-Tropical Storm Hermine:

 

 

Epi week #35, Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

West Nile Virus continues to dominate this mosquito season, with 154 WNV+ mosquito pools reported so far (though still below levels at this time in 2013). There were no changes to DPH’s WNV risk levels, so there remain 55 different municipalities in 7 different counties currently at a WNV risk of Moderate. Mosquito collections were down once again this week; as in previous weeks, this was due to a large decrease in collections of both Culex pipiens/restuans and Coquillettidia perturbans.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions expanded slightly, with the majority of Berkshire County now at Moderate Drought (orange) status.

 

 

As you can see in the map below, Epi Week 35 brought at least some rain for most of the state, with the greatest accumulation around 1.5”, in a band reaching from eastern Hampden County up through Essex County. The remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine stalled and hung around for days longer than anyone was originally expecting, and even then the storm did not produce much precipitation; we’ll see the results in the Epi Week 36 report.

 

 

Epi week #34, Aug, 21-27, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

West Nile Virus continues to dominate this mosquito season, with 137 WNV+ mosquito pools reported so far (though still below levels at this time in 2013). There are now 55 different municipalities in 7 different counties currently at a WNV risk of Moderate. Mosquito collections were lower this week than last week due to a large decrease in collections of both Culex pipiens/restuans and Coquillettidia perturbans.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions continued to expand this week, with the area of Extreme Drought (red) expanding into Bristol County and most of Norfolk County, and the area of Moderate Drought (orange) expanding to cover all of Cape Cod.

 

 

As you can see from the map below, most of the state received some amount of rain this past week, mainly under 1.5” except for extreme eastern Hampden County. As of the submission of this report, Tropical Storm Hermine is set to become the 4th hurricane of the season, and its track shows it bringing some rain to our state. For the most up-to-date tropical cyclone info, including tracking forecasts (which update a minimum of 4 times a day, at 2 and 8 am/pm), see http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/cyclones

 

 

Epi week #33, Aug, 14-20, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

West Nile Virus continues to dominate this mosquito season, with 96 WNV+ mosquito pools reported so far. There are now 55 different municipalities in 7 different counties currently at a WNV risk of Moderate. This is only one more town than we had in all of 2015, when 8 counties were impacted over the entire season. In general, mosquito collections were lower this week than last week due to the decrease in collections of both Culex pipiens/restuans and Coquillettidia perturbans.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions continued to expand this week, though the area of Extreme Drought (red) stayed much the same. We did see the expansion of the Moderate Drought area (orange) further into Bristol and Plymouth County and the northernmost tip of Barnstable County. Nantucket Island also finally succumbed to the lack of precipitation, entering Abnormally Dry status (yellow).

 

As you can see from the map below, there was scattered rainfall again this past week, but with the main accumulation occurring in Worcester County and areas immediately adjacent. Still nowhere near enough precipitation to alleviate drought conditions. While the third hurricane of the season, Hurricane Gaston, formed in the Atlantic, it has already been downgraded to a tropical storm, and forecast tracking shows it turning east well before it gets anywhere near the US coast. Tropical Storm Fiona appears to have petered out, and while there is another tropical disturbance near the Caribbean Islands that could become a named storm soon, it appears to be more of a threat to Florida and/or Texas.

 

 

Epi week #32, Aug, 7-13, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

West Nile Virus continues to dominate this mosquito season, with 72 WNV+ mosquito pools reported so far. While this number is not out of the ordinary compared to previous years, it is noteworthy that as of right now, we have 53 different municipalities in 7 different counties currently at a WNV risk of Moderate. This is only one more town than we had in all of 2015, when 8 counties were impacted over the entire season. In general, mosquito collections were lower this week than last week.

 

Weather: Drought conditions expanded further this week, with Moderate Drought (orange) taking over more of Franklin and Hampshire County, and Extreme Drought (red) growing to reach into Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth County as well as most of Essex County.

 

 

As you can see from the map below, there was scattered rainfall again this past week, with some areas in Berkshire County, southern Essex County, and the border of Franklin and Worcester County receiving close to two inches of precipitation. None of this is enough to alleviate drought conditions, though MDAR’s weather expert does note that the hurricane season is kicking up in the tropics, with one potential storm possibly making its way up the coast at the beginning of September.

 

 

Epi week #31, Jul. 31-Aug, 6, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

The lack of rain continues to be the main story for this mosquito season, with dry habitats and little rain translating into fewer mosquitoes. Submissions were down about 17% this past week, and were about 10% lower than Epi Week 31 of 2015, but WNV+ mosquito pools saw a big jump. This jump is typical for this time of year, and also expected as drought-starved catch basins continues to provide prime Culex pipiens/restuans habitat; if you look at the table above, you’ll notice WNV+ pools are about the same as 2015, and below what they were in 2013. The predominant species varied among the mosquito control areas, with some Districts/Projects reporting abundant Coquillettidia perturbans, and other where Culex spp. were most common. While Culiseta melanura levels were up slightly from the previous week, levels of this species remained extremely low, and there is still only a single EEEv+ pool for 2016.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions remained mostly the same across the state, with the exception of an area of “Extreme Drought (E3)” that developed at the end of Epi Week 31 into Epi Week 32.

 

 

As you can see from the Epi Week 31 map below, there was finally some rainfall this past week, with the bulk of it in the western half of the state, where some cities and towns received more than 3 inches of precipitation.

 

 

Epi week #30, Jul. 24-30, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

The lack of rain continues to drive current mosquito trends. Submissions were down slightly again this past week, about on par with Epi Week 30 of 2015. WNV+ mosquito pools are starting to show up, but that is typical for this time of year and expected as catch basin habitat continues to provide prime Culex pipiens/restuans habitat. Levels of floodwater species continue to be negligible. Culiseta melanura levels were extremely low across the state, both when compared to last week and to the same Epi Week in previous years, which corresponds to the lack of hits we’ve had for EEEv.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions continue to worsen across the state, with almost 2/3 of the state now under Severe Drought status (orange) and Moderate Drought (peach) expanding further west as well as into Bristol and Plymouth County.

 

Unfortunately, there appears to be no end to the current weather trend anytime in the near future; MDAR’s weather expert is now predicting drought conditions to last well into September. Expect more of the same (average to above average temperatures and only scattered thunderstorms) into the next week.

 

As you can see from the Epi Week 30 map below, there was little rainfall this past week, with only very isolated areas receiving more than half an inch.

 

 

Epi week #29, Jul. 17-23, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

Submissions were down by about 17% this past week, but still above what they have been in past years during Epi Week 29, even with continued drought conditions. For this past week, the bump is likely linked to DPH surveillance in several towns and cities across the state (including Boston, New Bedford and Worcester) that brought in large numbers of both Culex pipiens/restuans and Coquillettidia perturbans. Several of the mosquito control projects/districts with coastal habitat observed a rise in population levels of saltmarsh species over the past week. Culiseta melanura levels were up slightly but still low, with only 539 specimens submitted for testing (compared to 2012, a big year for EEE, where Epi Week 29 brought in almost 3000 specimens.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions have worsened across much of the state again this past week, with a 6% increase in areas under Severe Drought status (orange) as D2 conditions expanded into the Boston area, northern Norfolk County, and southern Middlesex County attributed to an expansion into northern Bristol and Plymouth County.

 

 

Our weather expert at MDAR is predicting a brief break from the intense heat with storms coming through at the end of Epi Week 30 that may bring some relief to area south of the Mass Pike. However, temperatures are expected to rise back up into the 90s by the middle of Epi Week 31, with no other rain events in our near future.

 

As you can see from the Epi Week 29 map below, the southeast part of the state received some rainfall, but the rest of the state mostly remained parched.

 

 

Epi week #28, Jul. 10-16, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

Submissions were down by about 33% this past week, but still above what they have been in past years during Epi Week 28, even with continued drought conditions. For this past week, the bump is likely linked to DPH surveillance in Worcester County and the Boston/Brookline area that is bringing in large numbers of both Culex pipiens/restuans and Coquillettidia perturbans. Culiseta melanura levels continued to drop, with only 352 specimens submitted for testing. Most mosquito control projects/districts indicated that overall mosquito activity was down, with either Culex pipiens/restuans or Coquillettidia perturbans the predominant species.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions have worsened across much of the state this again this past week, with a 13% increase in areas under Moderate Drought status (peach) attributed to an expansion into northern Bristol and Plymouth County. More than a quarter of the state remains in an elevated Severe Drought (orange) with rest categorized as Abnormally Dry (yellow).

 

 

Our weather expert at MDAR is predicting continued warm/hot temperatures with little rain outside of scattered thunderstorms, and this heat is expected to persist through early August.

 

As you can see from the Epi Week 28 map below, rainfall was scattered, most of the state received at least some rain, but very little of it was more than one inch. The precipitation deficit for the majority of the state is quite high, and there are no major rain events in sight.

 

 

 

Epi week #27, Jul. 3-9, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

Submissions were once again about double what they have been in past years, even with continued drought conditions. For Epi Week 27, this is mainly due to a large increase in Culex pipiens/restuans collections in gravid traps set by the State Lab (DPH) in urban areas including Brookline, Chicopee, Holyoke, and Worcester. A few of the Projects/Districts did report an uptick in Culex spp. levels, but things remain mostly quiet. Coquillettidia perturbans levels remained up though some projects saw a decrease this past week. After an initial increase in populations of Culiseta melanura collected at the start of the season, submissions have tanked (about at the levels they were at in Epi Week 27 of 2015, and far below what they were in comparable weeks in 2014, 2013, and 2012.

 

Weather:

 

Drought conditions have worsened across much of the state this past week, with more than a quarter of the state now in an elevated Severe Drought (orange) and other parts noted as being in Moderate Drought (peach) or Abnormally Dry (yellow). As a result, the state has declared a Drought Watch for Central and Northeast Mass. and a Drought Advisory for the Southeast (read more at http://www.mass.gov/eea/pr-2016/drought-watch-drought-advisory-issued.html).

 

 

Our weather expert at MDAR is predicting continued warm/hot temperatures with little rain outside of scattered thunderstorms. Current models are indicating a possibility of record breaking heat with high humidity at the end of Epi Week 29.

 

As you can see from the Epi Week 27 map below, rainfall was scattered, with much of the state remained without significant precipitation. Berkshire County, Cape Cod, and Nantucket Island were the major areas receiving an inch or more of precipitation.

 

 

Epi week #26, Jun. 26- Jul. 2, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

Submissions continued to be up for Epi Week 26 compared to the past few years, even as drought conditions persisted. Culiseta melanura levels are about the same as past years, but we’ve seen a big jump this year in Coquillettidia perturbans and Culex pipiens/restuans in many project areas.

 

Weather: Drought conditions continued across most of the state this past week, as indicated by the abnormally Dry (yellow) or Moderate Drought (peach) areas on the map below.

 

 

The NOAA Summer Temperature Outlook (a long-term forecast) is predicting above normal temperatures for the remainder of the summer. For now, expect our first batch of hazy, hot & humid weather during Epi Week 27, with nighttime temperatures above 70’F.

 

As you can see from the Epi Week 26 map below, some parts of the state finally received a decent amount of rain, with Berkshire County, southern Worcester County, and Cape Cod showing up to an inch or more of precipitation.

 

 

Epi week #25, Jun. 19-25, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

Now that numbers are starting to come in from all projects, we can see that submissions are actually up, in fact double what they have been for the past few years. The number of pools submitted is actually above what it was in Epi Week 25 of 2012 (the last time we did an aerial spray), though it should be noted that some projects have increased surveillance efforts and updated to more efficient traps over the past few years. It is interesting to be observing this jump with drought conditions continuing for most of the state, and many projects commenting that mosquito habitat is drying up. The jump in submissions is at least partly due to an increase in Coquillettidia perturbans in many project areas. It is unclear how these freshwater mosquitoes that utilize cattails for habitat have somehow managed to thrive; perhaps the lack of influx of fresh water that would normally occur from rain is creating better habitat for that species by allowing more detritus to accumulate in the substrate.

 

Weather:

 

As predicted by our weather expert last week, the area of the state under drought conditions continues to grow, with almost the entire state (except for parts of Berkshire County) now at either abnormally Dry (yellow) or Moderate Drought (peach). Scattered storms are expected to pass through mid-week of Epi Week 26, but they won’t likely leave behind enough precipitation to reduce drought conditions. By the end of June the state will be down 2-2.5” of rain vs. the average for June. They will, however, usher in the first truly humid conditions we’ve had this spring or summer. Long-term forecasts are predicting a mid-July heat wave.

 

 

As you can see from the Epi Week 25 map below, it was another dry week across the state, except for some localized precipitation in Berkshire County and coastal Essex County.

 

 

Epi week #24, Jun. 12-18, 2016

 

General Statement:

 

We are off to another slow start to the mosquito season, with dry conditions driving a lack of habitat and lack of floodwater species. Several projects noted that populations of Culiseta melanura larvae appeared to be up at the very start of the season (before testing began), which caused some concern, but those numbers do not appear to have panned out with a significant adult emergence.

 

Weather:

 

Our weather expert noted that it has been yet another dry spring for most of the state. As of this past week, Abnormally Dry conditions (yellow) have expanded into Barnstable, Bristol, and Plymouth County, with Essex and the northeastern portion of Middlesex and Suffolk County at Moderate Drought (“D1”) status (peach). With the exception of widely scattered thunderstorms predicted for Wednesday (6/22/16), no appreciable rain is anticipated for Epi Week 25, which will likely result in a modest expansion of those areas identified as D1. Epi Week 25 is also expected to be warmer than normal, but humidity will remain low.

As you can see from the Epi Week 24 map below, there was little precipitation across the state this past week. Precipitation maps from the previous 3 weeks are provided below, for comparison. Berkshire County has been receiving the bulk of the rain, with a significant rain event in Epi Week 22 and additional rainfall in Epi Week 23. Plymouth and Bristol County also received some rain in Epi Week 22, and Essex County received rainfall along the southeastern coastal region in Epi Week 23.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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