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Extreme Weather Challenges Finger Lakes Farms

From the Webster Post [2014-08-03]:

By Julie Sherwood

Canandaigua, N.Y. – Vineyard damage in the Finger Lakes has ranged from 50 to 90 percent in some areas due to this year’s harsh weather.Spring floods washed out fields and delayed planting of many crops, as well as causing structural and road damage. Flash floods struck again this past Monday, July 28, wiping out fields in some areas not to mention flooding roads, homes and businesses — especially hard hit were Richmond and Canadice in Ontario County. Richmond in one day got an unprecedented 10.22 inches of rain, according to Weather Underground. Then, on Thursday, hail struck Geneva and photos and videos of the latest weird weather event lit up on social media.

“Extreme weather is definitely the new normal,” said Mark Nicholson, co-owner of Red Jacket Orchards, a third-generation family fruit farm in Geneva.”

“…While a certain amount of extreme weather events are to be expected, the frequency and severity of such dramatic events — from floods to drought and from overwhelming heat to bitter cold — present evidence of climate change.

“In New York, the average summer temperature is 2 degrees warmer than in 1970, and the average winter temperature is 4 degrees warmer. The earth is now warmer than it has been during the past several 1,000 years, and the climate models project a continuation of this trend, according to Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, which facilitates research, education and outreach to reduce the collective impact of agriculture on the climate and help farmers become more resilient to climate change. …

“At Empire Farm Days this coming week, two experts will provide viewpoints and information on the effects of weather and climate on agriculture. Allison M. Chatrchyan, Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture director and faculty fellow with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, will present ‘Climate Change on Farming in a More Extreme and Variable Climate.’ Josh Nichols, a News 10NBC meteorologist who teaches weather and climate at Monroe Community College, will talk on ‘Weather from the Farmers’ Point of View.’ …