Local farmers welcome rain from depression

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 12, 2010

With the remnants of “Tropical Depression No. 5” swirling in the Gulf, local farmers are adopting a much different attitude than normal – “Bring it on.”

“The rain portion, that is. Not the wind,” said Charles “Chuck” Simon, an Auburn extension agent. “We absolutely need the rain, but what we don’t need is the wind. It can do devastating damage to crops, and we don’t need that.”

For tonight, the National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for heavy rainfall of “TD No. 5.” The storm failed to organize into Tropical Storm Danielle as it neared land around the mouth of the Mississippi Wednesday.

A tropical storm warning that covered much of the Gulf Coast from Destin, Fla., to Intracoastal City, La., was discontinued by Wednesday afternoon; however, forecasters say there could still be heavy rain along the coast.

That is good news to area farmers, Simon said. Rain chances for today are set at 50 percent and increase to 70 percent on Friday.

“We need the rain bad. We’re too dry,” Simon said. “There are some spots (in the county) that’ve been getting rain and others that haven’t. Pecans need it. We still have people cutting hay and it needs a little more growth. We’ve got cotton, peanuts, corn and soybeans. Rain these days has been hit or miss.

“What we don’t want to see is a storm with a lot of wind,” he said. “For us, cotton is a huge crop. If a storm with heavy winds comes through, it could blow down the plants and blow apart the boles. Then you’ve lost your crop. We saw it in (Hurricane) Opal. We don’t want to see it again.”

Forecasters are predicting rain locally throughout the weekend.