Climatologist: Parish caught up on rain

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 9, 2001

MONTEREY, La. – As of Friday, four days of rain had left the ground too wet for Concordia Parish farmers to work in their fields but have given crops needed rain.

&uot;If you’re farming in this area, you’re proud to get this rain,&uot;&160;said Lee Bean, general manager of Angelina Plantation in Monterey.

Nearly three inches of rain fell in Concordia Parish from Monday through Thursday – and the total for Friday will not be calculated until this morning.

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That is good because, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures for St. Joseph, the nearest USDA reporting station, the area was about one and a half inches short on rain for the year as of June 1.

In fact, as of Friday, Regional Climatologist Jay Grymes of the Southern Regional Climate Center at Louisiana State University was telling his forecasting colleagues that drought is no longer a factor.

&uot;I’m writing a memo right now telling them, ‘Get out your eraser and take drought off the board’,&uot; Grymes said. &uot;That’s true for all except extreme southeast Louisiana.&uot;

But that does not mean that crops will rebound overnight from three years of drought that left the soil parched, Grymes said.

&uot;The lawns are going to spring right back with this rain,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;But it may take a while for other vegetation and crops to rebound. The rain will help, … but it won’t immediately resolve all (crop) problems.&uot;

While some fields in Concordia Parish are flooded with rain, many are just getting back to normal moisture levels with this week’s rains, Bean said.

&uot;Some areas were extremely dry, especially on the south end of the parish,&uot; he said.

Still, it could take until late next week for the soil to dry enough for farmers to get back into their fields to work.

Farmers who have already planted this year’s crops would normally be spraying herbicides and insecticides and applying fertilizer to their fields this time of year, said Glen Daniels, Concordia Parish’s county agent.

&uot;But they can’t get in there now – the ground’s too wet,&uot; Daniels said. &uot;We needed the rain, but now we need it to stop and maybe give us another inch of rain in another three to four weeks.&uot;

Still, the rain was greatly needed, especially in fields where corn is mature enough to begin to tassel. The rain even helps guard against corn toxins, Daniels said.

Some fields are flooded, but most farmers have good drainage systems that allow excess water to run off quickly, he said.

The Miss-Lou can expect a 40 percent chance of rain today and a 20 percent chance tonight, according to the National Weather Service’s Jackson office. The area should experience dry weather Sunday through Thursday.