Rain 'helpful,' but not enough
JANESVILLE That liquid falling from the sky Friday in Janesville was rain, a substance not seen here in any significant amount since the end of May.
Unofficially, .30 inch of rain fell in Janesville during Friday’s thunderstorm, which in some areas amounted to a brief downpour. The storm moved northeasterly through the area rapidly and dumped larger amounts in areas to the north and east including .72 inch in Milwaukee. Kenosha recorded .32 inch.
“The rain was helpful, but it will take much more to alleviate the drought conditions,” said Ed Townsend, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan. “The storm tracked through the Janesville area at about 50 mph, and total rainfall was less than an inch in all areas.”
The last measured rainfall in Janesville was .02 inch June 29. Only .40 inch of rain was officially recorded during the month of June in Janesville. The last significant rainfall in Janesville was May 30 with .49 inch followed by .17 inch May 31.
There is good news and not so good news for area farmers.
“The short term benefit from this rain is very minimal,” said Jim Stute, the crops and soils educator at the Rock County UW-Extension office. “We need a lot more rain.”
But, there was a small silver lining in those rain clouds.
“When we have dry, baked conditions, heavy rain will simply not infiltrate and just runs off,” Stute said. “What this rain does is soften up the soil so that if we do get more rain, it will soak in.”
When that next rain will fall is difficult to predict.
“It’s really not looking that good,” Townsend said. “There’s a chance of some scattered showers over the weekend, but it doesn’t look like any significant amounts. Of course, that could change as some of the isolated thunderstorms could produce significant amounts.”