Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

A season of rain in one day


I knew the rainfall was heavy when I spotted overflowing creeks while driving home the night of Oct. 24.

It was raining steadily as we headed north from La Crosse but nothing like the wall of water that we drove into when we neared Melrose.

The wipers on high speed were not much of a match against the pouring rain, but we made it home safely – even when I had to slow for a large buck that was running alongside our vehicle as we entered our driveway.

I donned a raincoat and checked my rain gauge – which only holds five inches – and found it overflowing, as was the wheelbarrow that is at least six inches deep.

Water was seeping into the basement at the base of an unused chimney (it’s been on my long to-do list to cap it off) and the gutters were overflowing. The wind and rain had knocked off leaves from our maple tree which were clogging the gutters.

I climbed up the ladder in the dark with a flashlight in one hand and scooped leaves out with the other to unplug the gutters. After scrambling around on the lower roof and moving the ladder a few times, the water was flowing away from the house again.

The next morning I re-checked the rain gauge and it measured 1.75 inches. By the end of the day another inch fell. Based on the rain gauge and the wheelbarrow, we had at least eight inches of rain in 24 hours. A neighbor two miles away said he measured 10.

In one day we had four times the amount of rain we typically average in October and enough to cover the high precipitation months of June and July. The National Weather Service says the precipitation totals for my location is now normal for the year.

How misleading statistics can sometimes be. Just a few weeks ago we were in extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

The previous weekend I had one of my old hay fields turned over and planted with a winter cover crop. While the water runs did their job, time will tell if the seed is all washed away.

Dumping that much water on a sloping field that was just turned over wreaks havoc on the


South and north of us the drought continues, however. We are part of a drought-free band that stretches through the central part of the state. I would have gladly shared some of that torrential rain with some of our moisture-starved friends.

All of the rain will put a damper on the harvesting of low-lying fields that will need to dry out before they can support heavy equipment.

I’m thankful for the rain – I just wish it hadn’t come all at once. I’m also mindful that it could have come in the frozen white form – which we’ve already had a few times – if the temperatures had been a few degrees colder.

Following the typical 10 inches of snow to 1 inch of rain formula – never mind. I don’t even want to think about 7 feet of snow. I still need to get my snowblowers fixed from their last-winter breakdowns.

And speaking of breaking down, maybe I need to spend a few bucks on a bigger rain gauge.

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