All-day rain welcome relief

Published 10:56 am Monday, August 1, 2011

Jazmine Jones stocks a table at Grayson and Emma's Garden Spot with squash. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Jimmie Ricks can’t remember the last time Western Tidewater had an all-day rain like on Sunday.

“It’s been a long time,” said Ricks, co-owner of Vickie’s Country Store outside Courtland. “I can’t remember, but it makes everybody feel good, especially when it’s hot like this.”

Among those feeling good were farmers, who received from 7/10 of an inch to 2 inches of rain, said Chris Drake, an agriculture and natural resource agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension in Southampton County.

“The rain fell at a crucial time,” Drake said. “The fruit of the cotton continues to mature, and the soybeans are starting to bloom and reproduce.”

He estimated that the rain fell over five to six hours.

“We had really dry conditions,” Drake said. “When you get hard rain, a lot tends to run off in ditches. When you get a slow rainfall, it softens the ground.”

Other than field corn, he doesn’t anticipate farmers have experienced much crop loss this summer; in 2010, more than 50 percent of the corn crop was lost due to hot, dry conditions.

“There are some areas of (possible) corn (loss) due to the earlier drought from late May and early June,” Drake said. “Some of the corn will not be that great.”

He also can’t remember the last time Western Tidewater experienced an all-day rain.

“We haven’t had that (in a long time),” Drake said. “We’ve had pop-up showers and (rain from) cold fronts.”

Jazmine Jones, who works at Grayson and Emma’s Garden Spot, was excited about Sunday’s rain.

“We could use it all day today,” Jones said Monday while putting out fresh-picked squash at the Courtland market. “The rain was much needed. We had some farmers here (Sunday) who would like it to rain another day.”

Lawson Worrell of Newsoms was happy for the farmers and his own garden.

“It cooled off,” Worrell said. “I have a fall garden. My pumpkins perked up.”