“Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”
This line from the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner came to mind last week as a summer-long drought and 90 degree temperatures succumbed to overdue rain.
The hot, muggy weather did not give up easily. Even after the first much needed rain fell, the hot muggy weather persisted before finally breaking.
National Weather Service for the Green Bay area made these observations:
The Green Bay area last week recorded its 20th day of 90 degree temperatures this year which puts in the top five all-time.
At mid-month it was the driest July in Green Bay heading for a record-breaker. Last week, 10 days later, the rainfall was 2.5 inches above normal for the month.
The rains have been erratic, unprecedented and even frustrating for some people. Rain measuring several inches has flooded some areas, while a short distance away the ground remains dry or barely gets wet.
Last week Ron Popke left the Sugar Bush area where everything was dry for New London. The pavement was barely wet as he approached New London, but when he reached the VFW Club at the apex of Division Street hill, water more than an inch deep was flowing across the parking lot into the ditch.
Popke said the cloud producing the rain was unusual – huge, black with two clouds sticking up out of it.
Many areas of the city had little rain from that storm.
Thursday Janet Searl and I watched, from our office in New London Municipal Building, a wind-whipped horizontal downpour lasting about ten minutes. At the same time, street and park supervisor Dan Neely was in Hatten Park and reported only light rain.
Chris Kurth, who enjoys hiking on the Mosquito Hill trail, said the heavy rains have left a mark on it. “The rain was so heavy much of the trail has washed down the hill,” he said.
Last week at least two deluges fell on Pitt Acres west of New London with water seeping into the garage and the runoff leaving designs in the sand that serves as a yard.
Dennis Smith, who lives down the road, has been sweating out the drought along with the rest of farm people because of the threat to crops.
Smith said there has not been a downpour at his farm, but enough rain has fallen to rescue his corn crop.
“I think it will be okay,” he said, last Friday. “I think it got enough moisture that it can regenerate itself.”
There is no rescuing crops for areas in Wisconsin or sections of the nation where drought has been widespread. The drought has had an immediate impact on corn and grain prices and food and long-range markets.
Lee Selle, who farms south of New London, hopes to capitalize on the increase in corn prices and drought’s effect on hay. Farmers have been culling calves because they don’t have enough feed and as a result the glut of calves has dropped the market price.
Selle believes he has enough feed to buy some calves, raised them over winter and sell them in spring. “I expect things will be improved by spring and the farmers will be looking for replacement cattle,” he said.
The current calf market is timely for Russ Oberstadt who raises veal calves – 700 at a time on the outskirts of New London.
“Prices for calves are down because cost of cattle feed is increasing and that affects decisions farmers need to make,” he said.
He noted that with beef ranchers and dairy farmers shipping calves to market the lower price benefits his business on the front end as he purchases new animals that have reached sale weight.
Some of the rain was so heavy that John Faucher of New London has adopted a new best friend-Noah Behnke.
“With all of this rain can you think of anybody better to be with than somebody named Noah,” John said.
“When is all this rain going to stop?” Selle asked, as he passed the End Stool on his way home to harvest hay.
Who knows? At least it is a new question, replacing, “When is it going to cool off”
Lee had no sooner walked out the door when a shower began to fall.