As the temperature approached 90 degrees Tuesday, we think it's finally here-summer. We had a horribly cold and snow-filled winter and a wet and cold spring. In South Dakota, we love talking about the weather, and the major talk-about issue, of course, is the flooding. Here are some weather-related tidbits we're thinking about right now.
• Farmers have it rough. Commodity prices are down significantly, there's a trade war going on that significantly impacts the agriculture producers in our country and now massive pools of water are standing in just about every field in southeastern South Dakota. Because of the moisture, planting is well behind the five-year average. Farmers are wearing muck boots all day long and the cattle are longing for some sunshine rather than languishing in another mud bath. Have no fear, though. If anyone can endure poor weather better than anyone else, it's a farmer.
• Lake Mitchell has a constant waterflow right now and it actually looks pretty clean. The spring precipitation has continually gushed from the lake into Firesteel Creek to make ripe fishing conditions below the spillway. This summer may actually be the best year in a while to recreationally use Lake Mitchell, as we'll have cleaner water due to the constant flow. If this year is indeed better, we can't let it skew our thoughts on the lake - we need to continue making improvements when we can. On a side note, a good crowd is expected to be at Lake Yankton this weekend for Lake Yankton Festival and Homestead Days. Why doesn't Mitchell create "Lake Mitchell Days" to promote the importance of having a well-kept lake right in our city?
• This summer is going to be a nightmare with mosquitos. Protect yourself and your kids with good, quality bug spray. West Nile Virus is nothing to mess with.
• Please check up on regulations at lakes where no-wake restrictions are in effect. Lake Mitchell, Lake Thompson near De Smet, Lake Poinsett off Highway 81, south of Watertown, and a number of other water bodies are impacted. There's a reason these regulations are in place. Please abide by them to avoid erosion on the banks.
• Rural roads are in trouble for a long time. Despite that, we're happy to hear the U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Friday that it is issuing $1.5 million in emergency funds to help repair flood-damaged roads and bridges. That's just a start, however. It's going to take a lot more money and countless hours of work by county employees and township boards to get all of our roads back to useable.
• Lastly, never curse the rain, even this year. Before we know it, we'll be in a drought and praying for moisture. Remember, this is South Dakota. Anything can happen with the weather.