Monday, August 30, 2021

Rough Weather Week

Well everyone, it has been quite a week for all sorts of reasons.  But, given the fact that Tammy and I have done this farming thing for some time, it should be no surprise that the two of us often feel the effects of weather more acutely than most of the population.  Difficult weather can often play with our emotions and our attitudes and I will admit that neither of us is at our best when weather gives us extremes.

I think this is a photo from Friday evening (about 7pm?) looking to the north from the Genuine Faux Farm.  We were out trying to continue to address problems with the housing and protection of one of our broiler chicken flocks that was rooted in the Tuesday storms.  We were noticing some ominous clouds to our northwest when we got an alert on our phone, encouraging us to look even more carefully.

The severe storm cell that was marching north of us was the same one that had damaged farmsteads near Marble Rock earlier in the evening.  And, as I looked at it, I was taken back to my storm spotter training...realizing this was probably a textbook example of a wall cloud that could produce twisters.

I was happy it was heading straight East and we were not on its menu.  Though I was sorry for those places that WERE in its path.

 Tuesday's storm was a much larger system with a big, impressive wall cloud.  Our estimate for winds at the farm was 75+ mph.  Though, after reviewing some of the damage, there may have been higher gusts.  Our poor weather station doesn't do so good once winds exceed 50 mph and it was stuck at that reading for several minutes in a row.

Many fields of corn in the area looked very much like so many fields did last August when the derecho hit.  In fact, this storm appeared to have some of those qualities.  Significant areas of corn is down and while the soybean fields LOOK fine, it appears that many of the pods were stripped from the plants.

 It was enough to knock the chimney over - close to even with the flat roof on our farm house.  Let's just say that we are glad it didn't go over the edge of the flat roof - because that would have caused a whole LOT more damage than this did.

And then there's the rain.  It's not that we've gotten overwhelming amounts of rain at the farm, though the conditions have been rough on some of our crops (and the farmers) with the high dewpoints and heat indices.  It's the fact that whenever we looked to our North, there were heavy, dark clouds.  

Rain.  Rain.  And more rain.  And it's all coming our way via the streams and rivers.

I grew up with the idea that Spring was the time for floods and Fall was the time for drier weather.  In fact, the averages still bear that out - even if our experience at the farm does NOT follow that pattern.

So, here we are in August and we came JUST that close to setting a record flood level on the Wapsipinicon River near here.

The bridge over the Wapsi on county road C-33 was barely over the water level.

And closed gravel roads have been a common sight in Northeast Iowa over the last couple of days.

Kip Ladage used a drone to record some of the flooding in our area.  The video below starts with Highway 93, which is the road we take to go to Sumner - so we are familiar with the landscape.  This is as bad as we can recall seeing it get.

The second part of the video shows the flooding at Sweetwater Marsh - at the very area Tammy and I have liked to go when we need to sit and see a bit of nature for a while.  After seeing the video and the evidence that the road has been undermined, I will take a wild guess that those trips will be put on hold for a while.

The good news?  The cold front finally came through on Sunday and the humidity level dropped.  Maybe we'll get a day or two of nice weather to work on recovering from this last bit of difficulty.

Here's hoping!

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