As a new homeowner, this spring has been my first true experience with managing yard work along with other household chores.
In my time as an adult living on my own up until this year, lawn care had always been managed by my landlords or the apartment and housing complex that I was renting through. This spring, especially last month, was an incredible eye opener for me. I would like to say I have learned everything I need to know about mowing the lawn or edging along the sidewalk, but I am not in the business of lying so I will stick to what I do know: the weather.
From my minimal knowledge of lawn care, it seemed odd to me that my yard and my neighbor’s yards did not need to be mowed consistently until late April and early May. Even then, it seemed like a never-ending cycle of rain, soggy conditions , maybe one day of sunlight, then wash, rinse and repeat.
It was a game of chess to decide when the lawn was dry enough to be cared for without causing damage to our already fragile grass. I figured if I was noticing this issue, maybe other people were as well. I took a deep dive into the weather we saw, mainly in May, to see if I was being dramatic or if we truly saw a lot more rain than normal.
The Climate Prediction Center had released a May temperature and precipitation outlook prior to the start of the month calling for rainier than normal conditions across most of Missouri. Looking back on the total precipitation amounts for the state, specifically for central and eastern Missouri, the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast ranked true. Hermann recorded 9.75 inches of rain in May, which was the highest total accumulation recorded in the central and eastern portions of Missouri. According to the Missouri Climate Center, the average precipitation accumulation for a Missouri May is 4.7 inches of precipitation. Overall, most areas along Interstate 70 near Columbia and eastward received more rain than what is considered climatically normal during the last month.
It was nice to see data backing up my suspicions, but all that rain did cause some headaches across the area.
Many areas recorded rainfall accumulations for nearly half of the month. This means that, at one point during the day for half of May, measurable rain fell. Flooding concerns were present along waterways, and heavy and prolonged rainfall impacted outdoor workers. The seemingly never ending cycle of rain never truly let outdoor conditions dry out.
For myself and many other homeowners, this may have caused a headache, but largely did not cause too much stress. For many lawn care companies, their work was put behind schedule.
Maddie Est has worked as a broadcast meteorologist and marine meteorologist since graduating from the University of Missouri in 2021. She has worked with the Missouri Climate Center and conducted research on atmospheric blocking while at MU.
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