Things are looking pretty parched in the Northeast. Let’s just go ahead and call it what it is: drought.
From Maine to Pennsylvania, low rainfall and high temperatures are leading to water restrictions, lawn watering bans, and a whole lot of stress for farmers across the region. In some states, wells are even going dry.
The drought, which began last year, is expected to stick around at least until October.
“The Northeast is a little bit of a mixed bag, but the bottom line is that the conditions have deteriorated over the past several weeks to a couple of months,” Rich Tinker, drought specialist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Associated Press.
Massachusetts has been hit particularly hard, with nearly 75 percent of the state currently facing drought conditions and increased risk of wildfires.
In recent decades, droughts have become both more frequent and more extreme due to climate change. They threaten water supplies (obviously), farming, forests, and energy, as well as the lives of plants, animals, and, you know, people. Those threats rack up to an annual cost of nearly $9 billion in the U.S. — and as drought conditions increase in the Northeast and beyond, it’s a number that will only get higher.