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

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

19 hours ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

5 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

6 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

9 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

12 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

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.

Silver lining: Northeast drought benefits some businesses