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Too much rain? It all depends
Clouds may impact eclipse viewing

Opinions vary on whether this summer’s relentless rainfall has been a blessing or a burden.
For every yard turned lush green from the extra 10 inches of rain thus far in 2017, follows what seems to be the never-ending need to mow and pull weeds.

For every torturous 95-degree day that is thankfully cooled down, at least temporarily from the sky’s opening, comes the dangerous threat of lightning, strong winds and flooding.

From impacting area businesses like construction and lawn maintenance, to the delay or cancellation of outdoor events, the weather affects us all.

It will also have a say in next Monday’s viewing of the solar eclipse.

But first, the numbers: Through Aug. 1, Hinesville/Fort Stewart is reporting more than 43 inches of rain, according to Steven Taylor, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service  in Charleston. The Savannah International Airport has recorded 40.6 inches, and smaller communities such as Ludowici and Ellabell are estimated to have received 35 and 33 inches, respectively. For most, this is eight to 10 inches above the yearly average, with almost five months in the reporting period still to go.

And the pattern is expected to continue at least into next week, a time when many will be heading outdoors Monday afternoon to witness a historic event.

The weather pattern remains “fairly unsettled,” Taylor said. “A weak frontal boundary is lurking around next week and that feature, combined with the sea breeze, will result in afternoon showers,” Taylor said.  Most forecasters are predicting a 40-60 percent of showers on Monday. But like every day, the question is:  At what time will it come?

Parts of the eclipse will last up to three hours and Taylor says it’s too early to predict the sky cover. “Don’t count out Monday yet,” he said. “Even if it’s cloudy … with storms … you’ll still notice the darkness.”

For Larry Logan, Liberty County Emergency Management Agency deputy director, the increase in storms this year, both in frequency and intensity, is a public safety concern.

“We’re having a problem with the rain,” Logan said, which in turn saturates the ground. “The wind comes, and the trees can be pushed over” onto homes, cars and people. He urges all homeowners to cut back tree branches that may get dangerously close to their roof or power lines.

Keeping their homes free of standing water is also important, Logan said, as it can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

And what about this incessant rain helping or hurting area businesses? “It’s a negative,” says Shaun Martin, owner of A Southern Boys Company, in Midway, whose business specializes in everything from lawn care to septic tank repairs.

The rain can interrupt the cycle of lawn maintenance, Martin said. Many of their customers are on a plan to receive service each or every other week. Heavy storms can delay the visits, and if the ground is wet, it makes it difficult to cut grass.

“If this happened in November, when we don’t have much business, then it (the rain) would be a benefit,” Martin said.

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