It's Dry: Drought In Parts of Jefferson, Lewis CountiesPosted: Updated:
You probably already know this by looking at your lawn, but it's dry out there.
The National Drought Mitigation Center says parts of Jefferson and Lewis counties, taking in an area that roughly includes Tug Hill, are in a moderate drought. The rest of Lewis County is listed as abnormally dry, as is southern St. Lawrence County and the central part of Jefferson County.
A moderate drought is less serious than a severe drought, the next higher classification.
Most of New York state is considered abnormally dry.
Technically, it's not an official drought until a state's governor - in our case, Governor Cuomo - declares it so.
The map is backed up by numbers from the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. Normal rainfall in Watertown is 3.5 inches of rain In May. This May was almost two inches short of that. June's rainfall was an inch below normal.
And this month? Parts of the north country have seen only five percent of what they typically would.
Copenhagen in Lewis County is in the heart of the drought conditions, and James Henry, the village fire chief is warning people to be careful.
"If you're going to start a fire, make sure it's blocked in with blocks or something," Henry said. "Be careful even throwing cigarette butts down or lit matches because it's very, very dry at this point."
Get used to it - there is no sign of sustained rain in the forecast for the next seven days.
According to the Northeast Regional Climate Center, parts of upstate New York are expected to get no more than two inches of rainfall over the next week
(Drought map from National Drought Mitigation Center)