Drought-stricken communities welcome rain in the forecast this Labor Day

COLD SPRING, N.Y. — Rain in the Labor Day forecast would normally be a late summer bummer. But this year, many are hoping for a good soaking before the day is through.

From dehydrated hydrangeas, to peaches that are dying and dropping before they ripen, and a ban on outdoor water usage, drought has a firm grip on the Putnam County village of Cold Spring. 

“We’re just so sad about it. All of our beautiful flowers are suffering,” resident Patty D’Amato told CBS2’s Tony Aiello. “We’re under a water ban. We pray for rain. They forecast rain, and then it goes someplace else.”

The grass is dry and brittle as straw. Since June, rainfall in the county is about 7.5 inches below normal.

Cold Spring says its water reservoirs are at just 45% capacity. The village urges residents to take shorter showers, limit the flushing of toilets and avoid running water unnecessarily.

“Brushing the teeth, just turn the water off. Washing dishes, soaping them up, turn the water off. That kind of thing,” resident Joseph Frisenda said. 

Frisenda said the drought has diminished the crop on his fig tree. The fruit is the size of a marble, but should be at least the size of a golf ball. 

The lack of rain is also taking an awful toll at Wilkens Fruit and Fir in Yorktown Heights. Most of the Christmas trees planted this spring have died — not even Charlie Brown would want to decorate one of these sad specimens.

“They struggle this summer in the heat. So we’ll have to probably replant 60% of those next spring,” said Randy Pratt. 

Back in Cold Spring, the drought forced the village to cancel Labor Day Weekend fireworks, because a stray spark could start a brushfire, given the tinderbox conditions. 

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