Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Watching the Weather for Signs of a Wet Winter

Hardwood bottomlands of the Lowcountry are FULL again

It has been quite interesting to watch the weather change over in September from a hot and dry cycle into wetter weather. In Australia they simply call their rainy season ‘The Wet.’ Predicting the weather for the entire next season is best left to a meteorologist, but we can all see some indications for a wet winter due to September’s persistent precipitation.
A brief synopsis of summer might be that July was cooler than the normal heat and humidity we know as the Dog Days. That was followed up with a searing August heat wave that saw most days reach a temperature of 90-degrees or higher with little rain and lots of hot sunshine. The first of September was no different and portions of the Lowcountry began to dry out under the dual elements of sun and heat and the SCNDR Drought Response Committee felt the need to act.
On September 16 Colleton County and eight other adjacent Counties were placed under the first level of drought status known as Incipient Drought. “The Edisto and Salkehatchie River Basins have been the driest overall experiencing persistent low streamflow conditions over the past few months,” said Scott Harder, SCDNR Hydrologist.

However, since mid-September we have had a string of wet weather days, with days with heavy cloud cover and no sunshine separating the rainy days. With no sunshine or high temps the ground has been slower than normal to shed the moisture through evaporation, and soggy conditions still persist. Ditches are full in some cases, and they are holding water that will flow through the creeks and rivers of the ACE Basin for weeks.

Even when the rain stops and the sun comes out in early October it will take a couple weeks to dry out the land enough for farmers to get back to work. Peanut farmers say its too wet to dig their crop, hay farmers can’t cut their crop without sunshine to dry it, tomato farmers are at a crucial point where their crop may rot without sunshine and corn fields still need cutting.

For now we can expect a greatly reduced threat of wildfire, and quite possibly an increase in the number of mosquitoes and mushrooms. Dirt roads can become damaged during wet times especially considering the increased activity associated with hunting season. Wet conditions now and perhaps cold later this winter could provide an additional allure for outdoorsman who are already watching the weather closely.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries on climate click 2014 Ice Storm or 2010 Snow.

To view past blog entries on critters click on snakes or Bats or Horses or Wood Storks.

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