Valley sees record rainfall

2013-03-21T06:45:00Z Valley sees record rainfallBy Kyle Odegard, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald

After a dry start to 2013, the mid-Willamette Valley saw a record-breaking 1.15 inches of rain for the 24-hour period that ended at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The previous record for the day of 1.05 inches at Oregon State University’s Hyslop Farm, between Albany and Corvallis on Highway 20, was set in 1895.
“It’s about time that it’s raining. We really need it,” said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU.
“I almost got used to leaving the house without a rain coat or umbrella,” she laughed.
Rains are predicted to taper off, and the temperature is expected to hit the freezing mark tonight and Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.
This January and February have been some of the driest  on record, Dello said.
The total rainfall for the year as of Wednesday was 5.8 inches at Hyslop Farm. In an average year, it would be 14.71 inches.
Things also seem parched compared to last March, which was one of the wettest ever.
After three rainy years and soggy fields that lasted until July, many local farmers weren’t complaining about the dry stretch, said Ross Penhallegon, OSU Lane County Extension Service agent.
“They’ve been able to do most of the work that’s needed” and some have even fertilized thanks to dry soil, said Penhallegon, a fruit tree and berries expert who works in Linn, Benton and Lane counties.
“They are way ahead after being so far behind for three years in a row,” he added.
The accelerated schedule doesn’t just apply to farmers’ activities.
“Spring has already been here for two weeks, looking at the different plants,” Penhallegon said. For example, pear trees and other plants were already beginning to blossom.
That flowering could be a concern if rainy, cold weather prevents pollinators from buzzing about.
But Penhallegon wasn’t overly concerned. It’s still much too early to tell how this year will be for farmers, whatever the crop.
“We’ll know when the fruit is in the bucket,” he said.

Kyle Odegard covers public safety for the D-H. He can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or kyle.odegard@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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