USA - Dry conditions easing in most of CT, but parts of state to remain under alert

09.12.2022 207 views

Connecticut is slowly emerging from the months-long drought that strained crops and water resources this summer, officials said Thursday, while warning that many reservoirs still remain lower than normal for this time of year. 

Only a sliver of land in western Connecticut — about 2 percent of the state’s total area — remained under drought conditions Thursday, according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Three months ago, the area of drought covered the entire state, with about half of Connecticut experiencing “extreme” drought conditions.

Those conditions began to alleviate with heavy rains in September. While October and November remained slightly drier than normal, rainfall over the past three months has exceeded season averages in most areas of the state, according to the National Weather Service. 

Portions of four counties remained “abnormally dry” Thursday according, including all of Fairfield County that was not experiencing drought conditions. 

The return of rain prompted the state officials in November to lower the state’s drought alert to the lowest active stage, meaning that state and local officials were monitoring conditions and discussing response efforts internally, without issuing any formal notices to the public. 

On Thursday, the group overseeing those efforts, the Interagency Drought Working Group, recommended to Gov. Ned Lamont that four counties in eastern Connecticut — Windham, Tolland, New London and Middlesex — be put off alert entirely, while the western counties remain at the lowest alert stage. 

“Most of our wells and our streams are kind of in the normal range,” said John R Mullaney, a groundwater specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey. “Everything seems to be on its way back up, for most of our sights, with the rain that we’ve had.”

Still, some officials warned that it’s too early for residents to let up their guard after being asked to limit water consumption over the summer. 

Several water systems in central and western Connecticut — including Norwalk, Danbury, Greenwich and Bristol — are still facing water shortages, according to Steve Harkey, an official with the Department of Public Health’s Drinking Water Section.

While Harkey said he supported removing four counties from drought alert status, he said the state should avoid any messaging that conveys “that everything’s hunky dory and it’s do-what-you-want.”

The drought, which spread across most of New England this summer, caused lawns to brown and creek beds to run dry throughout the region, while farmers were forced to rely on increased irrigation to salvage their crops of corn, berries and even Christmas trees. Water levels in a few smaller rivers in Connecticut approached all-time record lows during the height of the drought, experts said. 

In October, Lamont announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had approved his request for an natural disaster declaration, making farmers across the state eligible for federal assistance to cover crop losses. 

The last significant drought to impact the state, in 2020, did not formally end until late December when winter rain and snow made up for the lack of precipitation over the summer months. Longer-term forecasts for New England predict an above-average amount of snowfall this winter potentially hastening the final end of the drought. 

Source - https://www.middletownpress.com

03.02.2023

Spain - Almeria's yellow melon production is decreasing

The cold has slowed down Almeria's horticultural production after a whole cycle that could be defined as exhausting for plants. "The high autumn and winter temperatures weakened the plants and advanced all the crops.

03.02.2023

Canada - The fight against ginseng replant disease

Amy Shi knows her enemy. Now she must learn to defeat it. A plant pathologist specializing in ginseng, Shi’s battleground is deep in the soil, where a fungal pathogen known as Ilyonectria mors-panacis is dead set on rotting the root of what was once Ontario’s most lucrative export crop.

03.02.2023

USA - Strengthening sorghum against a worldwide fungal threat

A gene discovered by a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Purdue University scientists could help fortify the defenses of sorghum to anthracnose, a disease of the cereal grain crop that can inflict yield losses of up to 50 percent.

03.02.2023

Spain - The damage would be much greater if these frosts had happened a month from now

The intense cold in Spain over the past two weeks, with several nights of sub-zero temperatures, is taking its toll on several crops in the Murcia region, mainly stone fruit and field vegetables.

03.02.2023

Uzbekistan - Harvest of early onions is largely delayed and may be lower than expected

The consequences of the weather anomalies in January for the Central Asian onion market are not limited to the loss of last year’s crop stocks, the subsequent sharp rise in prices, and a series of bans on onion exports from almost all countries of the region.

03.02.2023

USA - SLO County farms suffer millions in losses from storms

When the big January storm hit on the 9th and 10th of the month, Alford’s fields of cabbage flooded and disappeared under a new lake of water from the half-a-foot of rain that overwhelmed debris-clogged drainage ditches.

03.02.2023

UK - Weather outlook for winter cropping

Although recently we have been discussing and analysing how weather all over the globe has been impacting our cereal and oilseed prices, how has UK weather been for our domestic winter crops?

03.02.2023

USA - Farmers suffer losses as Salinas Valley fields flood

Salinas Valley was initially spared the worst of the damage as storms battered California last month. But then the Salinas River overflowed its banks Jan. 10, breaching berms and levees.