It is official: Niagara Frontier in moderate drought

Posted at 6:46 PM, Jul 05, 2016

It is no surprise to most residents but the National Weather Service in Buffalo confirms that the Niagara Frontier is in a moderate drought.

Only 12 inches of rain have fallen so far this year which is about 6 inches less than normal.

The dry conditions are causing issues in Niagara County where 4th of July fireworks were canceled in Pendleton because falling embers were touching off several grass fires.

Lack of rain is also causing stress on farmers who are being forced to irrigate more than normal.  The Cornell Cooperate Extension in Niagara County said Newfane farmers are being advised about when they can irrigate because the extreme water demand has been lowering water pressure.

There is also concerns in Orleans County because many farmers take water from the Erie Canal for irrigation, but this summer, parts of the canal will be closed and drained for repairs.

Farmers without irrigation systems worry crops, especially apple crops, will be smaller.

However, the positive side could mean fruit with a sweeter taste due to lack of moisture content.  Cornell Cooperative Extension said the cherry crop benefited from the lack of rain which prevented cherries from swelling and splitting open.  Cherries are in season now.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly spent the day talking to the National Weather Service and people in the  Niagara County Town of Pendleton about the drought.