ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – From slow crop growth to low river levels, the abnormally dry weather is taking a toll on many things across the Twin Tiers this summer.
According to the drought monitor that was issued earlier this afternoon, abnormally dry conditions are now affecting every county within the Twin Tiers. This is a big difference from last week, when most of the dry weather was affecting Steuben and Schuyler Counties.
This spells some not-so-great news for farmers that visit the Corning Farmer’s Market every week. The lack of water for plants and food has made some farmers turn to alternatives over the past month.
“It’s already been affecting us for at least a month now,” said Matthew Glenn, farmer for Muddy Fingers Farm. “We’ve been having to irrigate out of our pond and we’re just trying to keep things as wet as we can, but it’s been dry now for at least a month.”
Over in Elmira, the Chemung River has faced unseasonably low levels recently. This is tied to the abnormally dry weather as well.
According to Friends of the Chemung River, the gage height for Chemung River in Elmira currently sits at around 0.97′. This is about 0.03′ lower compared to a couple days ago.
“Mostly it affects us for recreation purposes, so we had to cancel a lot of our kayak paddling rental events that we’ve had this past weekend,” said Emily Marino, executive director for Friends of the Chemung River. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to do this upcoming weekend, but we wanna make sure that the river levels are acceptable for safety so that people aren’t going to potentially get hurt.”
Emily adds that low river levels from abnormally dry periods should be expected more often because of climate change. Recreational activities may have to be cancelled as a result, but at least the low river levels are not affecting wildlife as much as humans.
Unseasonably dry weather is an entirely different situation compared to what happened in the Twin Tiers about a year ago today. In the middle of July last year, over three and a half inches of rainfall was already recorded for the month alone. The month ended with over seven inches recorded in much of the region.
So far this month, only around a quarter of an inch of rainfall has been recorded in Elmira, which is around seven inches less than the total from July 2021. The last time the total precipitation was less than one inch for all of July in Elmira was back in the 1950’s.