By Allison Collins
SIDNEY – The unseasonably wet weather of late has meant more than just gray skies and puddle-filled picnics. For local property owners, farmers and municipalities, recent heavy rainfall has brought sodden, blighted crops, downed trees, swelling streams and failing flowerbeds.
Richard Townsend, a longtime science teacher with Sidney Central School District and holder of a degree in meteorological studies, said, “We’ve been running wetter than normal. It’s a very different kind of season.”
Citing recent data collected from Binghamton, downtown Sidney and Sidney Center, Townsend said the former saw 3.57 inches of rainfall in May and 4.31 inches in June; downtown Sidney experienced 5.37 inches in May and 5.25 inches in June; and, in Sidney Center, May’s rainfall total was 5.47 inches and June’s 5.18 inches.
Those totals are, said Townsend, “about an inch-and-a-half above normal.” He noted that July’s totals were not yet available.
Townsend said that while home garden growers have suffered, the for-profit agricultural community has been hit hardest by this summer’s surfeit of rain.
“It’s mainly been the farming (community),” said Townsend when asked about the impact of such wet weather. He added, “They’ve had a terrible time getting into fields, because it continues to stay wet.”
Mary Dolan of Otego, co-owner of Flying Rabbit Farm with husband, Dave, echoed Townsend, noting, “Our biggest challenge is being able to do tractor work in the garden.”
Dolan continued, “Lettuce is our biggest crop in terms of revenue and space in the garden. We were having a great year until a couple weeks ago when we started to get rot.”