Friday, September 26, 2014

The Rain Backlog of 2014

It seems like it has been raining for weeks in the Rio Grande Valley. The weather forecasts have almost exclusively hovered around something like: Chance of Showers. High 90. Low 75.  There have been a few days here and there where temperatures have climbed up to 100 degrees, but they have been very few compared to other years when it has been 100 F through October.

It's as if all the rain that we have not had these many years has suddenly decided to pay back its debt.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the Falcon Reservoir level, which is often used as an indicator of drought conditions. Despite all the rain we have been receiving, the Falcon Lake level is still about 30 ft below capacity. In fact, we are below 2010 and 2011 levels at the same time of year. But, we are above 2012 and 2013 levels by a few feet. We seem to be somewhat following seasonal variability, in terms of lake level. In short, not quite drought, but not quite in breathe easy territory.

So, what has been the result of so much rain in the Rio Grande Valley?

Certainly, everything has greened up rather nicely with so much rain. We have grown accustomed to yellow landscapes after so many years of little precipitation. It is a nice change to see the local flora thriving and flourishing.

Of course, the rains are also responsible for bringing something that we certainly have not missed, mosquitoes and flies. Certainly, we had flies during the dry times; but, not to the same extent. The same goes for mosquitoes, there may have been the occasional mosquito; but not the roving squadrons we see today.

To be sure, local health officials have been dispatching trucks to spray for mosquitoes once it became evident that it would rain for more than two days in a row. Municipalities like McAllen have also been enforcing weedy lot ordinances to ensure that citizens mow down their jungles to help control mosquitoes.

Speaking of growing populations, have you seen all the potholes that have proliferated around town? It seems as though there were benefits to the drought.

My only other pondering on the rains is what effect this will all have on the cracked foundations that have proliferated from our shifting clay soil? It has been sad to drive around town and see huge cracks making their ways up the walls of people's homes. Even the place I'm renting has had some issues with the shifting soil. The house is wood frame, which surprisingly doesn't help. Some of the doors get stuck, sheet rock has cracked here and there, and joints between the concrete and house have separated.

It looks like we will have more rain in the foreseeable future. With any luck, we'll skip the 100 degree weather for the rest of the year, which is my real interest.

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