Drought | The Boneyard

Drought

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What's that I hear? Is it rain? It still rains in Connecticut?

The streams have dried up and the lawns of southwestern Connecticut have turned a shade of ochre due to our current drought: we haven't had measurable rain since June 27th. Combining this along with our incoming week-long heat wave has bummed me out, both in the short team of hating the heat/humidity (we don't have HVAC in our 1890s house), but also worried for our planet.

How has the recent drought affected your area?
 

UC1995

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We have had rain three days straight in central Ohio. I am thinking in 20 years we will have beach front property that might be attractive to our Canadian friends!
 
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I hit this site up every Thursday morning to get a feel for the US as a whole.

New England isn't too bad except the NW burbs of Boston and Southern NH. Nothing a few good douchings can't rectify.

Wow. That's pretty eye-opening and thanks for sharing.

Fairfield County did have a ton of rain in the spring. Do you think that's a major contributor in the county only being a D0 classification despite not having rain in nearly three weeks?
 

Chin Diesel

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Wow. That's pretty eye-opening and thanks for sharing.

Fairfield County did have a ton of rain in the spring. Do you think that's a major contributor in the county only being a D0 classification despite not having rain in nearly three weeks?

It is neat. I came across the website a few years ago when it was linked in an article and it's just something that triggers in my head on Thursday morning to check out.

The maps tab on the top is a good tool to compare from week to week with side by side images.

As for particulars of how much rain one area gets and how long the affects are, there's a bunch of variables. I do know the more dense the soil, the more likely heavy rains are able to sustain an area. Rocky areas which wash rain off in to rivers, and steams, or areas with sandy soil, don't retain water as much. I have in-laws in Phoenix and they'll tell you during monsoon season, it's much more preferable for a slow, steady rain than heavy squalls. The dirt is so compact if it rains to fast it runs off before it can soak in to the land.

I'm on the Florida panhandle and only have to dig 2"-3" to get from top soil to almost pure sand. Twice in the 15+ years I've lived here we've gotten over 20" of rain in a 24-30 hour period. I had over a foot of standing water in my backyard. Took less than a day for it to soak through the soil and everything back to normal. It's Florida and most of it's flat so water doesn't run off as much as it soaks through the ground and in to aquifers. On the plus side the well I used for water to spinkle my lawn is only 30' deep.

And that is my complete amount of information of soil and water.
 

HuskyHawk

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It's crazy. I'm in the southwest burbs of Boston, and every storm that comes through Eastern Mass misses us. Weather today shows that likely happening again.
 

District-Husky

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We're getting lots of sky water here in DC.
Yeah I haven't watered my garden all year and the 2 street trees I planted last fall are in great shape. Normally I'm hauling buckets of waters to street trees this time of year but so far I haven't had to do it.
 
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I’ve given up on my lawn for the summer….had a beautiful lawn up until about 2 weeks ago when it started started to get yellow and crispy. Decided to put 0 effort in until September. Didn’t even set up the 4 hose sprinkler timer. I’m in the early to mid stages of a DIY full gutbathroom remodel anyway so that’s the priority.
 
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I have in-laws in Phoenix and they'll tell you during monsoon season, it's much more preferable for a slow, steady rain than heavy squalls. The dirt is so compact if it rains to fast it runs off before it can soak in to the land.
Same here. My in-laws are in Fountain Hills.

I experienced my first monsoon rain in the Phoenix area last summer when we were out to dinner at a golf course in Scottsdale. The restaurant was elevated and had a sweeping vista across the valley, so the color (almost olive green) and the lightning was one of the most exciting weather experiences of my life.

Of course, nothing compares to the monsoon rains I saw when I spent almost a month in the Philippines about ten years ago. We were driving from Quezon City to Batangas when the heavy rains basically turned the lightly maintained road into a stream. Seeing all the people near their shanty shacks as the rains damage their homes was one of the more acutely traumatic experiences in my life.
 
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I have come to appreciate rain here in Central Florida. It sure beats the drought conditions out west that have caused historically low water levels in Lake Mead, Lake Powell and other bodies of water.

During the summer months from May to October, afternoon storms are expected here. As Chin mentions, we can sometimes get a downpour but the effects do not last long. My biggest concern is that standing water starts to collect on my patio which is only inches below one of my sliders. I need to install some better drainage to prevent this from happening.
 

tykurez

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In Monroe and my grass is straw - super surprised it hasn’t been more noteworthy in the local news. We have no shade so it makes it worse. Frankly it’s been nice not having to mow the lawn every 7 days, but the gardens and our blueberry field is struggling. Also not looking forward to the heat wave, like @Hey Adrien! - in mid-1800s house and we cannot do HVAC so the windows units will be chugging.
 
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In Monroe and my grass is straw - super surprised it hasn’t been more noteworthy in the local news. We have no shade so it makes it worse. Frankly it’s been nice not having to mow the lawn every 7 days, but the gardens and our blueberry field is struggling. Also not looking forward to the heat wave, like @Hey Adrien! - in mid-1800s house and we cannot do HVAC so the windows units will be chugging.
Do you have an attic fan?

It doesn't make that much of a difference if the overnight low is 75, but during heat waves I keep the windows closed from like 10 AM to 8 PM and then run the attic fan from wake up to like 9 AM and then 9 PM until bed time.

The hot air from the attic gets vented out and the cooler air from outside replaces the indoor air. Closing the windows traps the cooler air. It keeps the house under 80 for about a four day heat wave, as the horse hair plaster walls do a great job doing what they are designed to do: keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

We only have window units in the bedrooms, so since this heat wave is scheduled to be prolonged, I've planned indoor stuff for this week: appointments Wednesday afternoon and a show at the Blue Note Wednesday evening, visiting the Aldrich for free on Thursday and then bringing over takeout to a friend on Friday in their HVAC'd home.
 

8893

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we don't have HVAC in our 1890s house

like @Hey Adrien! - in mid-1800s house and we cannot do HVAC so the windows units will be chugging
Have you guys checked out the Mitsubishi ductless mini-splits? They're not cheap, but they work great and are far preferable to window units imo.
 

temery

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Do you have an attic fan?

It doesn't make that much of a difference if the overnight low is 75, but during heat waves I keep the windows closed from like 10 AM to 8 PM and then run the attic fan from wake up to like 9 AM and then 9 PM until bed time.

The hot air from the attic gets vented out and the cooler air from outside replaces the indoor air. Closing the windows traps the cooler air. It keeps the house under 80 for about a four day heat wave, as the horse hair plaster walls do a great job doing what they are designed to do: keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

We only have window units in the bedrooms, so since this heat wave is scheduled to be prolonged, I've planned indoor stuff for this week: appointments Wednesday afternoon and a show at the Blue Note Wednesday evening, visiting the Aldrich for free on Thursday and then bringing over takeout to a friend on Friday in their HVAC'd home.

An attic fan sized right, and in the right location, can be a game changer.
 
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Have you guys checked out the Mitsubishi ductless mini-splits? They're not cheap, but they work great and are far preferable to window units imo.
A contractor that fixed our spigot specializes in ductless AC/heating, but we weren't interested.

Maybe we'll invest in them whenever we sell the house 20+ years down the road, but we'd really only need AC downstairs for about 15-20 days out of the year. During heat waves, I do almost all of our cooking on the grill, so that helps with the indoor heat big time.
 
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CL82

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Here in North Jersey we fall into the “abnormally dry” category. My lawn still looks good but that is in part due to the fact that I allow clover to grow in it. Back before ubiquitous watering and chemical treating clover was apart of grass mixes because it is fairly drought resistant. One downside is that deer do like it, though they don’t over browse it.

The only real impact to the drought that we are feeling is that there is a fire prohibition, even in fire pits, they actually have a recommendation not to do any grilling either, which I ignore.
 
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An attic fan sized right, and in the right location, can be a game changer.
It's a 1200 square foot house with a mostly open concept bottom floor and tons of windows. The attic is right above our only staircase, so the funnel of cool air it creates is pretty amazing...it feels almost like a wind tunnel standing in our staircase.

The ingenuity of home builders back then is pretty amazing.
 

tykurez

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Do you have an attic fan?

It doesn't make that much of a difference if the overnight low is 75, but during heat waves I keep the windows closed from like 10 AM to 8 PM and then run the attic fan from wake up to like 9 AM and then 9 PM until bed time.

The hot air from the attic gets vented out and the cooler air from outside replaces the indoor air. Closing the windows traps the cooler air. It keeps the house under 80 for about a four day heat wave, as the horse hair plaster walls do a great job doing what they are designed to do: keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

We only have window units in the bedrooms, so since this heat wave is scheduled to be prolonged, I've planned indoor stuff for this week: appointments Wednesday afternoon and a show at the Blue Note Wednesday evening, visiting the Aldrich for free on Thursday and then bringing over takeout to a friend on Friday in their HVAC'd home.
We turned the attic into an office since both my wife and I work at home - it gets unbearable up there a few weeks out of the year. Friends of ours have an attic fan like you and it seems to make a worlds of difference. I’ll throw a big 15,000 BTU in the living room and we’ll usually need it a few weeks out the year, just hate lugging that thing in.

Have you guys checked out the Mitsubishi ductless mini-splits? They're not cheap, but they work great and are far preferable to window units imo.
We actually have considered it - definitely pricey and we’re weighing that against some other options (there’s something called high velocity which is basically central with smaller ducting). The other thing with old homes is there’s typically not a ton of wall space to put the actual units, we have big windows and lots of built ins and mouldings. I’m putting it all off for hopefully some advancement in geothermal here stateside plus I love suffering.
 

Edward Sargent

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What's that I hear? Is it rain? It still rains in Connecticut?

The streams have dried up and the lawns of southwestern Connecticut have turned a shade of ochre due to our current drought: we haven't had measurable rain since June 27th. Combining this along with our incoming week-long heat wave has bummed me out, both in the short team of hating the heat/humidity (we don't have HVAC in our 1890s house), but also worried for our planet.

How has the recent drought affected your area?
I live in Clearwater FL we are 6 inches above normal.
 

Edward Sargent

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Have you guys checked out the Mitsubishi ductless mini-splits? They're not cheap, but they work great and are far preferable to window units imo.
I have had both Mitsubishi and Rinnai ductless mini splits and love them. We have a little cabin in Scituate that we are putting one into next week. Unfortunately the wait time on either of those makes is up to 6 months so I am going with Samsung.
 

8893

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A contractor that fixed our spigot specializes in ductless AC/heating, but we weren't interested. Maybe we'll invest in them whenever we sell the house 20+ years down the road, but we'd really only need AC downstairs for about 15-20 days out of the year.
When we sold our prior house we upgraded the appliances on the advice of our realtor, and also had some interior painting done. We regretted not doing it sooner because we would have liked to have enjoyed them ourselves while we lived there.

Our current house (which we've been in almost 20 years now) only had central A/C upstairs, as well as an attic fan; it worked well enough except for around 15-20 days a year, as you note. Then we converted a three-season room to a great room addition almost ten years ago and wanted something better, especially when that summer had an historic heatwave. Spent more than we expected on the Mitsubishi mini-split (primarily due to the cost of the wiring) but it came out nicer and works much better than expected, and has been a total game-changer. That room is now the most desirable room in the house.
 

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