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Mother Nature turns on the spigot

Editorial

If you think your lawn is growing faster than it has in years, you're probably right.

After all, lawns and plants love rainfall, and we've been blessed with a gracious plenty of it so far this year. So much, in fact, that some time Thursday evening the rain gauge at Albany's official reporting station at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport reached a remarkable milestone.

Less than six full months into the year, Albany has experienced more rainfall than it did in all of 2012.

The Agricultural Weather Information Service that produces the almanac information we publish daily in The Albany Herald reported Friday that, as of 5:15 p.m., the airport weather station had accumulated 33.03 inches of rain since Jan. 1. For all of 2012, the same reporting station had accumulated 31.87 inches. Even that was better than 2011, when we ended the year with 29.63 inches of rain.

Of course, this year's numbers got a tremendous boost from an extremely wet February, but even so, at 8.87 inches for June alone we were 3.98 inches ahead of what is considered a normal June and were 4.04 inches ahead of average rainfall amounts for the year.

Our region, which has seen its share of parched summers over the past few years, could do with a little surplus. Last year, the Albany reporting site was 20.87 inches short of what constitutes a "normal" year of rainfall for the location.

Those of us who are longtime Southwest Georgians can remember times when summer baseball games were abruptly interrupted by heavy showers. Whoever was at bat would hold out for a last pitch before everyone grabbed their equipment and bikes, and bolted for shelter. Those days have seemed remote in recent years.

Of course, six months of wet weather doesn't mean the rest of the year will follow suit. Years ago during one particularly painful drought year, a farmer speaking at a Georgia Peanut Commission meeting in Tifton bemoaned how fickle the weather could be. During planting season, there had been plenty of moisture. In late August, his plants were burning in the field. "It's like somebody reached up on the Fourth of July and turned off the spigot," he said.

Looking at forecasts, it's unlikely the tap will be turned off on Independence Day this year. And we hope that when New Year's Eve rolls around, Southwest Georgia will have experienced at least an average year. It would be a nice change of pace.