It’s the end of a drenched July 4th weekend in metro Atlanta. Neighbors have posted pictures of downed trees and, Friday evening, I had to just caulk the minivan and float home from work. On Independence Day, everything was cancelled – fireworks shows, parades, concerts, all of it, throughout the region. Everything seems to have been pushed back to Labor Day, which is odd in a region that has such political misgivings about organized labor, but whatever.
What’s odd is, a few short years ago, some municipalities cancelled their fireworks shows for just the opposite reason: a prolonged drought had left vegetation dead and brittle, raising fears that a stray spark might start a conflagration a la California or New Mexico. Even the windshield wipers on my van dry rotted.
And now, here we are, lamenting the rain amid our washed-out camping trips and family outings, our postponed celebrations and overgrown yards. Just glance at your Atlanta-area Facebook friends’ postings, sarcastically musing over the irregular appearance of that “great orange thing in the sky that’s so hot” and pretending they’re hoping the Seahawks have a good season this year.
This year has been a wet one. Last year’s rainfall totals for Atlanta was 37.03 inches, according to the National Weather Service. As of the end of June 2013, we’ve hit 37.32 inches, and that’s only about halfway through the year and doesn’t count the fact that it’s rained almost daily for the first two weeks of July – much of it what you’d call “torrential” in nature.
Folks didn’t seem to mind at first, given how dry the past several years have been. The arid environments of the region’s reservoirs were raising fears for the city and warnings that Atlanta was destined to be the next Phoenix, but without all the turquoise and dreamcatchers. So far, 2009 holds the record over the past decade, boasting 69.43 inches of rain during the course of the year and three months over the course of the year that endured more than eight inches of rainfall.
So far for 2013, June has been our most moist month, with 9.57 inches of rainfall. February, though shorter by several days than its calendar contemporaries, comes in second with 7.5 inches. And, looking ahead at the weather forecast for the next week, July’s ready to give ‘em both a run for the records.
Why so wet? It was just our turn, I reckon. I don’t aim to complain about the rain; for too long I feel like we’ve been without. Granted, it was nice only having to mow the lawn once a month, and never worrying that rain might wash out an upcoming outdoor event.
Now, however, my house looks like it’s in foreclosure. It’s been three weeks since I’ve had a sunny weekend to mow the yard. And I’ve begun to grow weary of the broadcaster’s banter about whether or not the Braves game at Turner Field will wrap up before the heavens open again. Why must Chip and Joe spend so much time talking about the weather?
There are, fortunately, ways to cope, of course. I suggest drinking plenty of alcohol. That seems to help most things. Make use of that Netflix subscription you keep paying for out of habit and nostalgia. Start a blog that no one reads. Drink some more.
And, the most important thing: don’t bitch about it. It’s raining. That’s good. Know what happens when it doesn’t rain? You become Somalia. Or worse, El Paso.
So I’m sorry if you can’t fill my Facebook timeline with selfies of you sunning yourself. Consider that the rain is doing both of us a favor.