Despite recent rains, Orleans still in moderate drought

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2018 at 1:08 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The farm fields and grass in Orleans County are greener after some recent rains. This photo shows a historical marker in Gaines, just west of the Gaines Basin Road bridge, which is the northernmost point on the canal. The sign was recently repainted by students in Tim Archer’s seventh grade service learning class at Albion, with Melissa Ierlan of Clarendon doing the lettering.

Orleans County farmers breathed a big sigh of relief with about an inch of rain two weeks ago, followed by another sizable rainfall.

But there hasn’t been much rain since. Orleans County, in fact, remains in a moderate drought, according to The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“The rain we got was very, very beneficial, said Larry Meyer, director of the Farm Service Agency in Orleans and Monroe counties.

The rain helped corn to grow and pollinate, and many farmers planted cabbage, cucumbers and green beans in last two weeks.

But with another dry spell, the groundwater is starting to get used up.

“We haven’t had the rain to make everything look real healthy,” Meyer said. “It’s been raining to the south of us. But our section in Niagara, Orleans and part of Monroe, it’s been skipping us.”

State-wide, New York is in better shape now than last week. As of Tuesday, 40.7 percent of NY was considered abnormally dry (down from 72.5 percent on July 24). The percentage considered in moderate drought didn’t change much, from 20.23 percent on July 24 to 20.08 percent on July 31, according to the Drought Monitor.

In Western New York, the area with moderate drought includes all of Orleans, most of Niagara and some of the western end of Monroe County.

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