Austin’s wet weather won’t stopPublished 10:18am Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Austin area breaks May rain records; year-to-date nearing 2012 totals
Area farmers, along with nearly anybody who likes to be outside, have had enough.
The Austin area has received the most precipitation ever in May with 10.74 inches and for the year to date through May 28 with 20.96 inches, according to the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis. The previous year-to-date record was 18.26 inches by May 28 in 1945.
Furthermore, Austin has received nearly as much precipitation as all of last year’s total of 22.19 inches.
What meteorologist Todd Shea calls a “stalled weather pattern” has farmers stalled in the fields, as many of them have not planted in two weeks. Robert Nelson from Alden said he and others haven’t even planted any beans yet, and they only have 30 to 50 percent of their corn in. If the wet weather persists through June 15, many fields will simply remain unplanted.
“It’s so saturated,” Nelson said. “There’s water up in the sidehills.”
Further east, in Grand Meadow, there has been 13.47 inches of precipitation in May, the fourth-highest total ever in the state for that month.
Though Nelson doesn’t have as much standing water in fields as some Mower County farms, he still suspects it could be five to seven days before he resumes any planting.
Nelson and others are thankful for last year’s bumper crops and the high rates they fetched for corn in the past few years. They’re also thankful for crop insurance, but this year is still going to sting. The planting season has reached the point when they already don’t expect much. Portions of what have been planted may not grow at all because of standing water.
“Crop insurance isn’t going to make up for this,” Nelson said. “It will really help, but people are going to struggle.”
And the rain may keep coming. NWS forecasts showers and thunderstorms every day through Saturday. Because the ground is so saturated, according to Shea, any significant rains could cause waterways to rise quickly. After a potential break in the wetness on Sunday, more rain may follow, as well.