Too little, too late?

Published 12:22 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ominous, low-hanging storm clouds pass along Mower County 8 just north of Grand Meadow Wednesday afternoon. Storms sprang up throughout the area and brought heavy rains for a period. A funnel cloud was reportedly sighted in the area, though not confirmed. -- Eric Johnson/

Tornados absent; rain doesn’t reverse drought

Mower County did not see any tornados Wednesday, despite rumors circulating that funnel clouds were forming.

Dick Taylor, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis., said no tornados nor funnel clouds had been spotted in the area. That doesn’t mean the weather was all sunshine, though.

“A small complex of storms moved through,” Taylor said. “Some gusty winds and some heavy rain as well.”

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Austin received about 1⁄4 inch of rain, he said, while Lansing got 1⁄2 inch and Grand Meadow saw about 3⁄4 inch. However, the infrequent rains lately are not enough to reverse the drought.

“It’s kind of isolated,” he said. “We need more events like that to really help out.”

Taylor said he couldn’t be sure whether the rain would do much for area crops.

“For some of the crops it might be too late,” he said.

Austin saw just 1.36 inches in July, the least for that month since 1996, according to the NWS, and well below the July average of 4.12. Austin only got 4.2 inches in June and July combined, the least for those two months since 1976.

Though rain has been consistent in the area during the past week, it’s not the million dollar rain for which farmers were hoping.

“It might be short of that because the corn crop’s potential is pretty much made,” said Brian Hanson, a farmer near Grand Meadow.

Beans will still fill out with some more rain, but the season is getting a little late for them, as well. Regardless, a drought that has continued from August 2011 has still kept soil moisture scarce.

“At this point, I would say we’re depleted because the rains we have been getting, the crops have been using up,” Hanson said. “I know we’re not built back up.”