AP

Silver lining: Northeast drought benefits some businesses

Aug 31, 2022, 4:57 AM | Updated: 5:48 am

BOSTON (AP) — There is a silver lining to the drought affecting the northeastern U.S. that has frustrated farmers, dried up rivers and reservoirs, and brought water use restrictions and brush fires to the region.

The arid conditions have benefited amusement parks, minor league baseball teams, construction contractors and other businesses that need warm, dry weather to attract paying customers and get jobs completed on time.

While several factors have affected the bottom line this summer, including inflation, staffing shortages, and supply chain issues, some businesses say, yes, things are generally going well, in part because of the weather.

“Sunny days at the ballpark are the best days,” said Geoff Iacuessa, president and general manager of the Portland Sea Dogs minor league baseball team, which is seeing fewer rainouts and higher attendance.

Large tracts of the Northeast from Pennsylvania to Maine are experiencing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A swath of the region from southern New Hampshire, across much of eastern Massachusetts and including nearly all of Rhode Island and into eastern Connecticut is suffering from extreme drought conditions, the fourth worst out of five drought stages.

In some areas, rainfall amounts in the last 90 days are about 6 inches (15 centimeters) lower than normal, according to the Drought Monitor.

The Sea Dogs, the Maine-based Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, have averaged more than 5,700 fans per game, and while season-to-season attendance comparisons are imprecise, that’s about 100 more per game than in the pre-pandemic years of 2018 and 2019, Iacuessa said. The 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and home field capacity was limited at the start of last season.

Another advantage of hot weather: beer, water and ice cream sales soar.

At Groundskeeper Inc., an Ashland, Massachusetts, commercial landscape design company, the dry weather has allowed the crew to get a lot more work done, especially when it comes to so-called hardscaping — the installation of patios, walkways, retaining walls and the like — company president Brian Churchill said.

Working with concrete, mortar, and brick adhesives is nearly impossible during a steady rain, he said.

“I would say it has been a very productive year,” said Churchill, who is also the past president of the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals. “No rain days, no delays in the schedule. We’re able to work five days a week and get a lot of work done.”

And that benefits everyone.

“When you meet schedule and the developers can meet closing dates, they’ve got happy clients, they get the money in the bank, we get money in the bank, and that means everyone’s happy,” he said.

There is a downside for landscapers during the drought, however, said Miriam Hellweg, director of maintenance at a Blade of Grass LLC, a Sudbury, Massachusetts, landscape design company.

“The drought is stressful for plants, so first we have more plants dying,” she said. “The other piece is with a drought the plants aren’t growing as much, so we’re not doing as much mowing.”

The weather, along with an increase in the self-imposed capacity restrictions put in place to prevent overcrowding, has helped pull more people to Santa’s Village, a Christmas-themed amusement park in Jefferson, New Hampshire, said Jim Miller, a spokesperson for the 15-acre family-owned facility.

“Everybody likes the perfect weather, and we’ve been at capacity on most days,” he said.

The park founded in 1953 only sells advance tickets online, so when families are checking the weather forecast several days out before booking their visit, all they have seen this summer is blue skies, he said.

The drought has been a mixed bag for Tom Bukowski, owner of Safari Golf, a miniature golf course in Berlin, Connecticut. Yes, dry weather is good for business, but brutal heat can be a detriment. Connecticut had a six-day stretch in July when temperatures were 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and another eight-day stretch in early August with 90-degree plus temperatures.

“If it gets too hot, not many people play, but it’s still better than rain, because when it rains, no one comes out,” he said.

Business this year has been tempered by inflation, he said. In the past, the whole family would play. He’s noticed that this year, parents are paying for their kids, but sitting out themselves to save a little.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant to serve indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

15 hours ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

2 days ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

2 days ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Associated Press

GOP advances Garland contempt charges after White House exerts executive privilege over Biden audio

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

3 days ago

Asylum processing for new migrants: Changes could come soon...

Associated Press

The Biden administration is planning more changes to quicken asylum processing for new migrants

The Biden administration is planning to quicken the asylum processing for new migrants as an interim step rather than an executive order.

4 days ago

Record-setting rally for U.S. stocks reflects inflation slowing down...

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares advance after another round of Wall St records

The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% to top its prior high set a month and a half ago. This move reflects a record-setting rally for U.S. stocks.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Silver lining: Northeast drought benefits some businesses