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*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘gully washer

Frequent Downpours

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I hope this isn’t an omen. This coming Friday and Saturday we have scheduled a custom event at Wintervale for close friends that is intended to serve as a warmup to the annual Tour of Minnesota bike and camping week in the middle of June. I didn’t mean it to become a conditioning exercise for nasty weather.

I don’t want the weather we are currently burdened with to be representative of what we can expect in a month’s time. The good news is that the last few days have provided several quiet moments of time when it is not raining, between the cataclysmic outbursts of over an inch-per-hour gully-washers festooned with spectacular flashes of lightning and heavy rumbling thunder that roll overhead in gargantuan waves.

The forecast for Saturday: ** Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 56. East wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three-quarters of an inch possible. **

A temperature of 56° with 100% chance of precipitation is not the kind of weather in which I want to ride.

Our rain gauges are getting a good workout, needing to be frequently dumped of the inches accumulating by the hour. It’s crazy making.

Meanwhile, animals just seem to deal with it. Our horses usually choose to stand out in the rain, but occasionally they will stay under the overhang. I wonder if it might be that they are growing used to the roar from the metal roof.

The wild animals are usually hunkered down far from sight, but yesterday Cyndie came across this beautiful fawn curled up on the edge of our north trail.

She reported that Delilah had completely missed sensing the little one and walked right past, oblivious. The momma must have done an excellent job of cleaning the newborn to minimize any scent.

There was no sign of the mother, but she was probably nearby, observing.

When I got home from work, Cyndie took me out to see if the fawn was still there. She held back with Delilah as I moved ahead and scanned the trail. I kept asking her if we had reached the spot yet, because I wasn’t seeing anything. We figured it had probably moved on.

Just as I was about to head back, my eye caught a glimpse of the brown color. It had definitely moved, but not very far at all. The fawn had settled in a new spot, a little off the trail, so that it was better surrounded by the tall grass.

I reached out to snap a shot looking down from overhead and then we stepped away. We didn’t have much time to tend to the horses before the next deluge.

As the rain pounded down with dramatic intensity, I wondered about that fawn folded up in a tight little ball among the tall grass. I was hoping the momma had showed up and guided a route to the woods for better cover.

Or at the very least, higher ground.

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Written by johnwhays

May 18, 2017 at 6:00 am

August Rainsaster

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DSCN3783eThe predicted October-like storm, with potential for record-setting low pressure for this time of year, unleashed the greatly feared torrents of flash flooding rain on us yesterday.

It revealed several areas where we need to improve our water management if we hope to withstand the ongoing onslaught of gully-washing downpour events that keep happening with increasing frequency.

When I got home from work and went outside to check on things, there was 4.5 inches of water in the rain gauge. I knew from that amount that the round pen would not have fared well for losing sand, so was prepared for the worst.

In spite of the heartbreaking mess of runoff sand, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. I could see where some of the worst spots were for the water running into the round pen, and quickly went to work with a shovel to dig channels for draining water around, instead of through.

I also dug several pathways to encourage water to more quickly flow out of the paddocks, before it pooled up and drained toward the round pen.

DSCN3780eDSCN3781e.

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Back up at the barn, where our gutter upgrade has yet to happen, the old system was failing brilliantly. I needed to pull the downspout to clear an obstruction, soaking myself in the process, and then discovered fixing that just transferred the overflow to the bottom where the downspout enters the buried drain tube. Something, either the recent dump truck activity or simple horse traffic, appears to have impeded the flow down the buried tube. That will be a doozy to fix.

While walking down to check whether anything was flowing out of the bottom of the buried tube (—it wasn’t—), I saw that an old drain channel I had created to entice flow out of the small paddock was flowing like a raging river. Yay! A success!

But when I reached the fence line, where the ditch opened to my main drainage swale (I thought), I found that the water was curling and flowing back into the paddock, traveling along the inside of the fence down to the bottom corner by the round pen —just the area I was trying to avoid.

It was now raining hard again at that point, and I was about as wet as could be. I was tired, saddened, and feeling entirely defeated. Dragging my sorry soaked self up toward the house, I checked the rain gauge again to see that an additional inch had fallen while I was out.

I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

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Written by johnwhays

August 19, 2015 at 6:00 am