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  • Last modified 233 days ago (April 6, 2017)

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Rain, rain, go away

News editor

Mud rules in the county after more than three inches of rain last week and additional showers since Sunday, but for the most part, rural drivers appear to be taking it in stride.

Road and bridge superintendent Jesse Hamm said his office hasn’t received an “overabundance” of complaints.

“I think people understand it’s been awhile since we’ve had rain,” he said. “You’ve got to choose wisely what roads you take.”

Some drivers haven’t followed that advice and have gotten stuck, Sheriff Robert Craft said.

“Four or five that I can think of that we’ve had calls on,” he said. “Everything we do in this kind of weather is on little-used roads. There’s not a whole lot we can do. We can call them a tow truck, give them a ride to somewhere where there’s food and shelter.”

A car stranded west of Ramona was left to sit until the road dried out a bit.

“The simple fact is that you can’t get anything down there without tearing up the road more,” Craft said. “A lot of times tow trucks won’t go out when it’s that muddy.”

In another instance, it took 300 feet of cable to keep a tow truck on solid footing while pulling a car out of a quagmire.

Last week’s deluge swelled streams to overflowing, with minor flooding reported in Florence and Peabody.

Tuesday’s rain came at the wrong time for high school spring sports. All county track, baseball, softball, golf, and tennis teams were rained out.

Hamm spent a good portion of the day Monday driving around the county inspecting roads.

“I’m seeing where I can put some more 2-inch gravel on some weak roads,” he said.

Last year’s application of 2-inch gravel, bemoaned for the rough rides it created, has proven beneficial, and Hamm said it’s ready for more work.

“It looks like we’ve got a base established,” he said. “I’ve got to get a cap over it.”

Rain has exposed trouble on some roads covered with smaller gravel.

“All that rock turned to powder,” Hamm said.

Sunlight and wind is the recipe to get the roads in good enough shape for crews to begin tackling problem areas, Hamm said.

Farmers are looking for the same as they look at planting and field preparation.

“It’s going to slow down corn planting,” county extension agent Rickey Roberts said. “They could be spraying, burning, getting ready to plant. There’s field work to do and this much water is going to slow things down.”

Even with delays from the rain, the window for corn planting is large enough that this round of rain shouldn’t have a negative impact, Roberts said.

On the other hand, wheat could benefit.

“I’m guessing it made the wheat crop,” Roberts said. “Now it needs some sunshine. Provided that the wheat isn’t sitting underwater, it ought to make a bunch of wheat.”

Roberts stopped short of predicting yields, noting that many other factors will come into play before harvest. However, there shouldn’t be much concern about sufficient moisture.

“It’s a good time to get a rain,” he said. “I never want to cuss a spring rain. “I wish we could’ve spread it out a little bit, as opposed to getting it all in one week.”

If the long-range forecast holds, farmers can expect a full week of clear and partly cloudy skies before the next chance of rain comes around.

Last modified April 6, 2017

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