Rainy May has plus, minuses

Published 10:44 pm Friday, May 29, 2009

The abundance of rainfall received in the area so far in 2009 has provided a welcome change from the previous two drought-ridden years.

According to the National Weather Service, the Clanton area received 9.75 inches of rain this May, compared with 3.49 inches received in May 2008.

So far this year the Clanton area has received 36.01 inches of rainfall, 10 inches more than the same period of time in 2008.

The recent rainfall has helped with the deficit accumulated over the past two years.

“All this rain we’ve been getting has definitely been helping with the drought we experienced,” Tara Golden, NWS meteorologist, said. “Pretty much the whole state has been taken out of the drought status.”

The consistent rainfall thus far has allowed conditions to return to normal, including area lakes and rivers.

“Rivers at this point seem to be doing well,” Golden said.

According to Jan Ellis, spokeswoman for Alabama Power, total hydro generation in the first quarter of 2009 surpassed the total amount of hydro generation for all of 2007.

The year-to-date totals for hydro generation have already surpassed the total amount for 2008.

April 2009 produced six times the amount of hydro generation produced in April 2007.

Ellis said 2009 could be a “normal” year for hydro generation.

Although a lot of rainfall brings relief for rivers, peach farmers face problems due to wet weather at this time of year.

“The rainy, cloudy weather brings on problems or issues we have not had to face with the drier seasons we have had,” Bobby Boozer, Chilton County Extension Agency horticulturist, said.

Boozer said the wet spring has affected lower areas as well as stressed trees. The disease pressure has recently increased, calling for good pest management.

The lack of abundant sunlight also affects the peach harvest.

“Having some sunlight getting into the trees, and them feeding the fruit, we feel helps to improve quality,” Boozer said.