North Tonawanda received 2.40 inches of rainfall in June 2012, compared to the normal June total of 4.01 inches. August 2012 saw 1.35 inches of rainfall, compared to the normal August total of 2.96 inches.
Compounding the high temperatures and low rainfall was an abnormally dry winter, Kanack said.
“What got us into trouble is normally in the winter we have snow and snow is potential water that’s locked up. We really had no snow in the winter so the soil got to dry out and then March, which is usually wet, was 80 degrees and the soil dried out even more,” he said.
“The soil was dry to begin with and then we had the hot summer. Water takes five times longer to warm up or cool down than land so if you have a wet soil, it takes longer for that soil to warm where if you have a dry soil it really heats up. Part of our heat that we had during the summer was due to a lack of soil moisture in the soil.”
Kanack said so much moisture was evaporated from the soil, but Mother Nature didn’t put much back in.
“That’s why your trees are losing leaves,” he said. “The leaves like rain and they don’t like to be stressed. They were stressed this year with the heat and I think that’s going to hurt them now.”
After reviewing North Tonawanda’s temperature and precipitation figures for the summer, Niklas predicted North Tonawanda will experience average fall coloring, but a shorter season.
“Everything will be accelerated, and more ‘brown’ leaves than colorful ones,” he said.
So if and when you see that colorful tree in your neighborhood, be sure to take a quick photo, because it might not last long.
Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.