Relentless Summer Rainfall: Blessing or Curse?

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- Record rainfall and unseasonably cool temperatures in the heat of summer can definitely present some benefits.

Volunteer firefighters are not on wildfire watch this season due to soggy conditions and Tennessee Valley residents will certainly not have to worry about having their water usage regulated any time soon.

Last year at this time, of course, the hot topic was extreme drought conditions not only in North Alabama but across the U.S.

An arid situation caused local corn crop to twist and crisp in the sun as farmers struggled to provide distributors with desirable harvest.

The heavy rain locally since mid-June begs the question, can too much of a good thing be bad for area farmers?

"With all the moisture and the rain that we've had last week and again last night, that's going to cause its own problems," says Ken Creel, Regional Agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Creel says this is one of the mildest summers he has seen in his 46 years in Madison County. He says North Alabama has already seen enough rainfall this summer to spoil farmers' yield.

"A lot of the folks that are trying to grow things in their gardens or even farmers, where they're getting flooded they're going to lose a lot of their produce."

Creel says violent winds from summer storms create their own problems, especially for corn crop.

"We got hit here with storms last night that blew a lot of the corn down and for corn growers who are making a living off that when you have storms that blow down your corn--it's not very helpful."

Of course the rain--usually welcome when temperatures are generally astronomical during Alabama summers--is causing problems for more than just crops.

reflectAside from construction sites stalled, water-logged and now equipped with their own reflecting pools, road projects are decidedly on the halt.

Construction was set to begin on the Indian Creek Bridge replacement project near the intersect of Indian Creek and Blake Bottom Roads Thursday.

Drivers in the Monrovia area will now get a brief reprieve from the temporary closing of Blake Bottom Road but District 4 Commissioner Phil Vandiver says heavy rainfall will now simply delay the inevitable traffic nightmare now expected to extend well beyond the start of school this fall.

"Our whole intention was to try to get this done during the summer break for school and any delay is just going to make it more inconvenient for the citizens out there traveling back and forth into Huntsville," says Vandiver. "We'd love to get it done as soon as possible but sometimes weather is a factor."

This time, says Vandiver, it is a delay to the tune of at least 11 days for the project to start. The commissioner says there is really no way to make up for that nearly two-week delay; the stall will equal a longer project time he says, point-blank.

"I don't know that we really can recoup I mean there are just certain things you can do in a certain amount of time. We will do all we can but one thing I hate is the longer we're delayed into the fall, the worse weather we'll be getting."

Vandiver describes this summer's precipitation as a mixed blessing. He says farmers need rain to make crops grow but also need to be able to actually work their fields. He says the situation is comparable for road work in every district of Madison County.

"We have many projects we're trying to get done right now but we are having to be delayed on those because most are drainage issues."

Vandiver says there have been many such issues over the winter and spring season that remain unresolved. Vandiver visited a home in Harvest following last week's flash flood events to take a look at a chronically overflowing drainage ditch. That property was one of 11 issues the commissioner says he had on his list to check out. Vandiver says with continued rains any real action on those drainage problems will be delayed as well.

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