Worst Drought Ever?
The United States Department of Agriculture has declared natural disaster areas in more than 1,000 counties and 26 drought-stricken states, making it the largest natural disaster in American history.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 56 percent of the US experienced drought conditions. And according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the period from January through June was "the warmest first half of any year on record for the contiguous United States."
The average temperature was 4.5 degrees above average, NOAA said recently. Twenty-eight states east of the Rockies set temperature records for the 6-month period.
In June, most of the US suffered from a heat wave. More than 170 all-time temperature records were broken or tied during the month. On June 28 in Norton, Kansas, for instance, the temperature reached 118 degrees, an all-time high. On June 26, Red Willow, Nebraska, set a temperature record of 115 degrees, eclipsing the 114-degree mark set in 1932.
Little of this comes as a surprise to landscape contractors and maintenance companies, as the extreme drought and record-high temperatures impact their business.
In Saginaw Township, Minnesota, the lack of rain and high temperatures has seriously hurt landscaping businesses. OPE owner Andy Opalewski says this summer has been a real struggle. Currently, Opalewski is only servicing half of his lawn customers.
"There are lawns that we haven't cut in five weeks. You get to the house, you look at it and you can't cut it. You walk out on that lawn and stick a shovel in it you're breaking your shovel. You know it's like concrete," Opalewski said.
The company’s revenue is down about 60 percent for July so far. To make matters worse, the company’s snow-removal business lost nearly $250,000 last winter because of the area’s low snowfall.