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Drought in northeastern US could drive revenue for some businesses
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There is a silver lining to the drought affecting the northeastern U.S. that has frustrated farmers, dried up rivers and reservoirs, and brought water use restrictions and brush fires to the region.
The arid conditions have benefited amusement parks, minor league baseball teams, construction contractors and other businesses that need warm, dry weather to attract paying customers and get jobs completed on time.
While several factors have affected the bottom line this summer, including inflation, staffing shortages, and supply chain issues, some businesses say, yes, things are generally going well, in part because of the weather.
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"Sunny days at the ballpark are the best days," said Geoff Iacuessa, president and general manager of the Portland Sea Dogs minor league baseball team, which is seeing fewer rainouts and higher attendance.
Large tracts of the Northeast from Pennsylvania to Maine are experiencing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A swath of the region from southern New Hampshire, across much of eastern Massachusetts and including nearly all of Rhode Island and into eastern Connecticut is suffering from extreme drought conditions, the fourth worst out of five drought stages.
In some areas, rainfall amounts in the last 90 days are about 6 inches (15 centimeters) lower than normal, according to the Drought Monitor.
The Sea Dogs, the Maine-based Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, have averaged more than 5,700 fans per game, and while season-to-season attendance comparisons are imprecise, that's about 100 more per game than in the pre-pandemic years of 2018 and 2019, Iacuessa said. The 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and home field capacity was limited at the start of last season.