Extreme Weather | New Hampshire Public Radio

Extreme Weather

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Unseasonably warm temperatures the past few days have set records across New Hampshire and Maine, according to the National Weather Service.

Manchester saw record daily highs on Saturday and Sunday – getting close to 80 degrees. Concord also saw a record daily high on Sunday. Previous records were in the low 70s and 60s.

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Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Despite some recent rain, New Hampshire’s drought is growing, causing wells to run dry across the state. And the hotter temperatures of a changing climate could make future droughts more likely. 

As part of NHPR’s By Degrees project, Annie Ropeik reports on how the dry conditions are affecting people who rely on well water, and what it would take to prepare for the future.  

Merlene Whiting Pilotte / Courtesy

More than 10 percent of New Hampshire is now in an extreme drought, with Lake Winnipesaukee and other reservoirs at record low levels and an increasing number of water wells running dry.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Part of New Hampshire has entered an extreme drought for only the second time in 20 years.

The extreme conditions center on the Dover area and extend in a circle from Great Bay, to near Concord, up to the Lakes Region.

The rest of the state is in severe drought, with moderate conditions in the Upper Valley and Monadnock Valley. 

Bow Fire Department / Facebook

Update, 5 p.m. Wednesday: Concord fire officials say the Merrimack River island fire was extinguished this afternoon, though "hot spots" may flare up in the dry weather forecast for the coming days. 

OC Aerials / facebook.com/OCAerials603

New Hampshire’s drought is not expected to improve any time soon, and officials say it’s continuing to create prime conditions for possible wildfires.

Seventy-two percent of New Hampshire is now in a severe drought, with moderate drought in the southwestern and far northern part of the state. The drought also stretches across New England, with extreme conditions in far northern Maine and on New England’s south coast.

Ken Watson / KenWatson.net

Update, Wednesday, Sept. 16: The risk of wildfires was “very high” Wednesday in New Hampshire and Maine. Officials say they've had reports of several small, deep-burning fires in the southern and central part of New Hampshire.

Smoke from Western wildfires is also still wafting over New England. Forecasters say it will make for a colorful sunset but isn't yet affecting air quality. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s ongoing drought has worsened again, with severe dryness now spreading into Grafton County and escalating impacts to surface water and agriculture.

At a meeting Thursday, officials said nearly the entire state remains in a drought, with the worst of it stretching from the Seacoast into the lower White Mountains.

Cori Princell / NHPR

The state is out with a first-of-its-kind report on the health of New Hampshire’s lakes, showing the effects of climate change, population growth and a decline in acid rain.

The report takes a comprehensive look at water quality trends from the past few decades or longer in 150 of the state’s lakes and ponds monitored by volunteers and state biologists.

EversourceNH

Update: Thursday, 5:10 p.m.: About 5,000 customers of Eversource and the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative are still without power in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias on Tuesday night. 

Previous updates continue below: 

File photo

Today, Monday, could be one of the hottest days of the year, and with that comes high demand for electricity. Using less power in the heat could lower your bills – as well as carbon emissions.

Electricity bills carry a fee based on the peak demand within the year. Consultant Emily Manns of Nashua-based Standard Power says it’s possible that fee will be set today, at the peak hours: between 4 and 7 p.m.

Businesses and factories may pay a penalty for using more power during that time, but it has an effect on residential customers, too:

Wikimedia Commons

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory in effect until 8 p.m. on Monday.

This kind of heat index, in the mid-90s or higher, poses a serious health risk to the elderly, young children, and those with respiratory issues or other preexisting health conditions. These people should find somewhere to stay cool inside and drink plenty of water.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire is seeing more heat waves due to climate change. And staying cool is even harder this year because of COVID-19. Our new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, has this look at how New Hampshire's cities are coping. 

Courtesy Cottage Hospital

Parts of New Hampshire saw intense rain Tuesday morning, leading to some flash flooding, including at a hospital.

Cottage Hospital in Woodsville experienced flooding early this morning as bands of thunderstorms and “torrential rainfall” moved through the area.

“Our staff responded swiftly to mitigate damage. Patient rooms were not affected,” says Dr. Maria Ryan, the hospital’s CEO, in a statement. “The water has now receded. Thankfully, no equipment was damaged.

CSPAN

To kick off NHPR's new reporting project By Degrees, we're unpacking the basics of how climate change is already affecting life in New Hampshire, and how the state is contributing to and responding to the problem. 

Rachel Cleetus is the policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Climate and Energy Program, based in Massachusetts.

Wikimedia Commons

Pandemic closures are limiting the options in New Hampshire for people who need to take shelter from the heat this weekend.

Much of the state will see temperatures in the 90s, with high humidity, through early next week.

But it may fall short of an official heat advisory, which is what cities like Manchester and Nashua use to activate their heat response plans.

Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire has few places left open for people to cool off during this week's heat wave.

Phil Alexakos, Chief Operations Officer for the Manchester Health Department, says if temperatures reach what is considered “extreme heat,” the city may have to create designated cooling centers.

“And we would have to do that now with the lens of properly distancing folks,” he says. “So that’s what we’re going to be working on is looking at our existing plans and making sure that they take into account proper distancing and precautions and screenings.”

Joe Klementovich / Hubbard Brook

New Hampshire scientists unveiled a landmark study Friday of how ice storms affect northern forests.

The first-of-its-kind research, from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in North Woodstock, could help landowners and emergency managers plan for future disasters.

Alix Contosta / UNH

Scientists say winter warm spells – like the one the Northeast saw this past weekend – are in line with predictions for climate change.

Nearly every New Hampshire city and many in surrounding states set daily high temperature records on Saturday and Sunday, with peak warmth in the high 60s.