The effects of drought and heat waves are not limited to the West Coast, of course. In 2016, 90% of Massachusetts was in a Severe Drought, and over half of the state was in Extreme Drought, the most severe drought since the ‘60s. Climate projections show the occurrence of drought to be more common in future years, causing stress on our local wetlands, which make up nearly a fifth of Weston land.
Droughts are caused by little to no rainfall paired with rising temperatures. By 2050, Weston is set to have as many as 35 more days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. With our summers set to feel more like those of South Carolina, heat waves not only exacerbate the occurrence of drought, but often lead to heat-related illnesses and significantly higher energy demands. Higher energy demands can cause financial stress, but it’s important to recognize health impacts, too. The health impacts of heat waves can disrupt kids’ focus on hot days in schools without air conditioning, can cause heat related illnesses for the elderly, and increase the prevalence of vector-borne diseases like EEE and Lyme.