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I Hate This Weather

12 years ago

I am in the mood to rant about the weather today. Anyone else feeling that way?

First, let's look at the lack of rainfall. I know some of you have had great rainfall this year and I am happy for you. We had great rainfall in Jan-Mar, but Apr-May rainfall has been poor. What really worries me about this is that our normal rainy period in our county is April through June. If we get good rainfall then, at least our plants have that good soil moisture to carry them into summer. Without that good spring rainfall, though, our plants are in trouble.

I don't remember April's rainfall as a percentage of normal, but in May our rainfall has been about 25% of normal. I realize we have over a week to go and one big rainfall could put us right back at normal or average, but my forecast doesn't have a chance of rain at all until next Tuesday, and that's only a 20% of a slight shower or scattered thunderstorm. Those are pretty poor odds. As dry as we are here, a lot of eastern OK has been even drier since they're usually so very much wetter than we are.

Then there's the wind. This month we've been plagued with winds in the 20s-30s in combination with temps in the upper 80s through upper 90s. When you have both of those in combination with very low rainfall, the wind/heat is like a blast furnace that sucks the moisture and greenness right out of the plants. My poor plants look like I go out there with a torch and roast them and torture them.

Finally, the temperatures. They are driving me crazy. Ever since we moved here in 1999, I've noticed that even the NWS point forecast for our area misses our high temp by 3 to 5 degrees routinely. Since last summer, it has been much worse than that. We often have been 5 to 10 degrees higher than the forecast. I assume the forecast models just aren't dealing well with the combination of factors that are giving us these high temps.

As a case in point, our forecast yesterday was for 83. We hit 92 degrees at the Burneyville mesonet station that is west of us a few miles, and 94 degrees on the thermometer on our shaded wrap-around porch. So, if today's forecast is for a high temp of 93, should I be expecting 95? 98? 102? It makes me crazy. I don't know why I even look at the forecast because the temperature part of it will not be right. Often it is not even close. If we ever have a day where our high temp remotely matches the forecast high temp, I'll think my thermometer is broken.

The humidity levels are getting low in the afternoons like we commonly see in mid-summer through late-summer. They've dipped into the 20s a lot lately. That is hard on the plants and increases the likelihood of grassfires igniting. I haven't even been paying that much attention to our KBDI until the lat couple of weeks. I guess that's because for much of Jan-Mar it was near zero. Tim watches it though, and tells me what it is every now and then. Right now it is approaching 400, which would be more typical for us in August, not late May.

Because we had good winter and early spring rain, and because I mulch heavily, the garden has tolerated the dryness fairly well so far. At least when it is this hot and this dry, as long as I am not watering with a sprinkler and getting water on the plant foliage, we see very little bacterial or fungal issues. However, the only way to say it is that the garden is producing better than it is looking. I have watered some, but because there's a very heavy load of fruit on the tomato plants, I've been avoiding watering them as much as I can. The landscape is a whole different story.

I hate, hate, hate this weather. Why couldn't we have had a nice rainy April and May to carry us into the summer weather with some assurance that the plants will be okay with just a moderate amount of water.

I have resolved that I am not, not, not, not, not going to water heavily like I did last summer. When it is extremely hot and extremely dry like it has been this month, you cannot water vegetable plants enough to keep them in high production. Thus, heavy watering is an unsound financial decision.

Okay, that's my weather rant. I'll be headed out to the garden shortly to mulch the still short and stunted mid-season and late-season corn. I like to wait until the corn is a foot tall before I mulch it, but I'm afraid if I don't mulch sooner, it never will make it to one-foot tall. Needless to say, our soil temperatures are off-the-charts. For those of you new to gardening or just new to gardening in Oklahoma, heavy mulching can reduce the soil temperatures about 20 degrees in the hot months. This is very important because, in unmulched soils, the poor plant roots can roast in the heat.

I love being outside in the garden. I was outside most of yesterday, although I came in frequently to drink something cold and to cool off for a few minutes. My DH is working days this week, and when he left home before 7 am, I was in the garden, and when he arrived home around 5 pm, I was in the garden. Usually if I am out that early, I'm inside to stay by roughly lunch time. The heat and dryness are just taking all the fun of being out in the garden working. If I wasn't watering some, the garden's production would be dropping every week.

Our KBDI is skyrocketing, and we're starting to have little grassfires popping up here and there. So far, they've been pretty easy to stop. I think the biggest one in the last week in our county only burned 15 acres. However, if it is "your" 15 acres, it seems like the worst fire in the world.

Even worse than the heat/dryness is the insects they bring. Once it is this hot, we have epic numbers of spider mites and grasshoppers, and both are almost unstoppable in rural areas in hot weather.

I'm trying really not to "give up" on this year, but more and more the thought in my mind is that surely things will be better in 2013. It is too early to start thinking those thoughts.

Despite the heat and drought (there, I said it....even if the NWS or NOAA or whoever does not agree with me, my summer drought has begun here), the garden is producing so well that I am terribly far behind in harvesting and processing veggies. I am not sure how long that will last in these conditions.

So, I am trying to be positive and have a sunny (pun intended) outlook, but mostly all I'm feeling for this weather is disgust. Hate it, hate it, hate it.


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