Record Rainfall in Parts of New England Dampens Tourism

The downpours have put a damper on the tourism industry as it tries to bounce back from Covid-19.


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Record rain has fallen in parts of New England this month.

This month has been Boston’s third-wettest July on record. Credit…Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe, via Getty Images

July 19, 2021, 2:43 p.m. ET

Summer has so far been a washout in much of New England, where rainfall records for July could be broken — and some have already toppled.

With 13 days still left this month, 12.67 inches have fallen on Worcester, Mass., breaking the previous record of 11.24 inches that was set in 1938, according to the National Weather Service. Boston and Hartford, Conn., have both had their third-wettest July on record.

“We’re getting a lot of pushback from people who have been saying, ‘Enough is enough,'” Ryan Hanrahan, the chief meteorologist for NBC Connecticut, said in an interview on Monday. “It’s been a pretty terrible stretch.”

Although it is not possible to immediately draw a connection between one heavy downpour — or even a wet month — and climate change, the United States and other parts of the world have seen an increase in the frequency of heavy rainstorms as the world warms. One basic reason is that warmer air holds more moisture.

The slog of wet July weather has been felt acutely in New England’s restaurant and tourism industry, which had been counting on a rebound in business this summer after closings during the coronavirus pandemic.

At Dennis Parasail & Jet Ski on Cape Cod, about 12 days have already been lost to the rain for the months of June and July, which the manager, Autumn Shields, said in an interview on Monday was unusually high.

“The weather reporting, regardless of the apps, keeps calling for rain,” Ms. Shields said. “People are just thinking it’s going to rain, so they’re not booking. People are feeling discouraged, but we’re still trying to get out there and help people have as much fun as they can.”

Deirdre Mears, the owner of Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Groton, Conn., an institution known for its warm, buttered lobster rolls and views of Fishers Island Sound, said that the timing of the rain — which fell on peak weekends — was particularly difficult.

“You can’t get back Memorial Day weekend, and you can’t get back Fourth of July,” she said.

The restaurant, which has a large tent and some indoor seating, has had to cut back on staffing because of the weather, according to Ms. Mears, who said that some devotees had braved the elements and the unseasonably cool weather anyway.

“They came with their blankets,” she said. “Bless their hearts.”

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