Rain breaks 114-year-old record
The nearly 3 inches of rain that fell Monday in Mitchell swept away a 114-year-old record but is not an indicator of a continuing wet trend, a National Weather Service meteorologist said Tuesday.
“I think we’ve wrung out all the moisture that’s available,” Meteorologist Tim Masters said.
Mitchell received 2.76 inches of rain at the automated airport station between midnight Sunday and midnight Monday. That’s considered the official amount for the record books, and it shattered Mitchell’s previous Oct. 14 record of 1.20 inches in 1899. A volunteer weather observer, meanwhile, reported 2.93 inches of rain in the middle of Mitchell.
Meteorologist Phil Schumacher said Bridgewater received the highest precipitation total Monday in the area, registering 3.95 inches of rain in the 24-hour period.
Masters attributed the heavy rains to moisture-laden upper atmosphere weather flows from the southwest that collided with colder seasonal air flows from the north. He said the system began moving out late Tuesday.
“This won’t be a pattern for the remainder of the fall or this winter,” he said.
Taking a longer-term look, State Climatologist Dennis Todey said the 60 days leading up to the record-breaking Oct. 14 rainfall were the 11th wettest in Mitchell history.
“We have been relatively wet over the last 60 days, but there won’t be too much moisture following this wet spell,” Todey said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the weather forecast for Mitchell was sunny today with a high of 57, a slight chance of showers Thursday with a high of 54, and partly to mostly sunny skies Friday and Saturday with highs around 50.
The dry-out at the end of the week will help with the harvest, Todey said, but the lower temperatures won’t allow crops to dry as quickly as higher temperatures might.
Jim Morken, manager of the Farmers Alliance elevator in Mitchell, said rain has put temporary brakes on the harvest.
“It will probably be close to this weekend before producers can start combining soybeans again,” he said.