Long Island Drought Persists Despite Recent Rain

East End farmers have to irrigate their crops more due to the drought, especially sod farms
East End farmers have to irrigate their crops more due to the drought, especially sod farms
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Long Island is still considered to be in a severe drought despite a recent storm that brought some much-needed rain to the region — meaning residents are still being urged to conserve water.

The U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday that there has been no change for LI since the severe drought designation was expanded from the South Shore to all of Nassau and Suffolk counties. The short rain event was not enough to reserve the trend.

“For drought relief you really need multiple long-duration light rain events,” said James Tomasini, an Upton-based National Weather meteorologist. “If you have really heavy rain, a lot of that will turn into runoff and not get absorbed into the soil.”

Although the region is only a tenth of an inch below average for the first two weeks of September, the Island has seen the fourth-driest summer on record with a deficit of 6.75 inches of rain between June and August, according to the NWS.

Despite much of the New York metro area being under a flood watch last week, less than an inch of rain was recorded on Long Island in that storm.

The forecast remains dry through next week, with a slight chance of rain Monday or Tuesday, suggesting the drought will continue for at least the short term.

The Suffolk County Water Authority is continuing to urge all customers to stop watering their lawns between midnight and 7 a.m. after it recently expanded its stage 1 water emergency alert from just the East End. The agency has found that residents are watering their lawns more because of the drought, straining the system and leaving water tower levels low, which could hamper firefighters ability to extinguish an overnight blaze.

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