Finally, it's safe, we think, to put away the snowblower. And no doubt many on the North Shore are marveling over how little use they made of the machine this past winter.
Many say they used it once or twice; some have observed it never came out of the garage. But now we learn there's a downside to that lack of snow, which could come in the form of drought warnings and water bans as early as May.
The flow of water in the Ipswich River at key checkpoints such as the Willowdale Dam on the Hamilton-Ipswich line and in Middleton, is at a distressingly low level. The problem: lack of snow this winter; lack of rain this spring.
There's been no melting snow to replenish local rivers and streams and little rain, which has heightened the risk of brush fires in the region.
According to the Middleton Stream Team, total precipitation in March was 1.60 inches as compared to a 30-year average of 3.88 inches for the month. And the difference in February was even more stark — 0.85 inches vs. a 30-year average of 3.22 inches. The flow of water at the Willowdale Dam as of this week was at the lowest level seen in the 80 years they've been taking measurements there.
Brace yourselves for a dry summer.