About 40 percent of Massachusetts is considered to be in severe drought.
The new estimate released Thursday by the United States Drought Monitor is up from 33 percent just a week ago and reflects a persistent lack of rainfall in the region.
The area of severe drought stretches from the Merrimack Valley to portions of central and western Massachusetts.
The severe drought designation is the third of five categories, with extreme and exceptional drought the two highest. No portion of Massachusetts falls into those categories.
The drought monitor says the severe designation indicates the likelihood of water restrictions being imposed and the potential for crop losses. Click here to see if your town is under a water restriction.
Some relief may be in sight: Friday's forecast includes a strong chance for rain, possibly heavy at times, in much of the state.