Mother Nature is a little confused.
While northern Utah, usually the wettest area of Utah, is besieged by drought, southern parts of the state, usually the driest, are being inundated by heavy rains.Not only are southern Utah farmers finding it difficult to get into their fields because they are so wet and muddy, but hay farmers there are complaining they can't cut their crops because the hay needs to dry several days before it can be moved from the field and stored and they keep getting unseasonable rains.
Hay farmers who cut their alfalfa and then have it rained on often have to throw away their crop and take a total loss on it.
Considering the water year, from October 1987 to September of 1988, the normal rainfall for Dixie by this time of year should be, on the average, 9.49 inches, but the area had 13.11 inches by last Friday and recent rains have only boosted this figure.
South-central Utah, including the Richfield area, normally would have had 9.64 inches of rain by last Friday. The area has had 11.91 inches so far this water year.
Southeastern Utah would normally have only had 6.98 inches by last Friday and the area had 8.72 inches of rain.
William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service's Salt Lake Forecast Office, says the weather picture is cockeyed this year. He reported Thursday that rains over the past few days have helped dampen northern Utah somewhat, but it is still abnormally dry there.
"Brigham City still didn't get anything," he said. In June and July, Brigham City only received .02 inches of rain, Corinne only had .06 inches and Ogden received only .07 inches, Alder said.
The normal growing season is nearing completion. If northern farmers don't get rain soon, their crops and their harvests will certainly suffer.
North-central Utah, including the Wasatch Front, normally would have had 13.99 inches of rain by last Friday. The area only has had 10.36 inches so far this water year, according to Donna Crowell of the office of the Utah State Climatologist at Utah State University, Logan.
"The northern mountains, including the Wasatch and Uintas, normally would have had 16.54 inches of rain but only had 9.64 inches by last Friday," she said.
Alder said the 30-day forecast for August shows normal amounts of rainfall and normal temperatures expected. The 90-day forecast, for August, September and October, shows above normal precipitation expected and normal temperatures in the south and cooler temperatures in the north.
Despite all the unseasonable rain in the south and the drought conditions in the north of Utah, the state's average rainfall appears normal. By last Friday, Utah normally would have had 9.19 inches. It actually had 9.20 inches.
Utah's total rainfall for the water year is 11.02 inches. Weather experts are predicting the state will get near that figure again this year.
"If you just look at statistics for the whole state, we're fine," Alder said. "But the problem is, the rain has come at the wrong time for farmers, especially in the north, and in the wrong places."