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Stormy weather

By Staff | Jun 7, 2008

Whether it’s time to count lucky stars or give thanks for abundant blessings, Emmet County residents are fortunate the week of storms have not caused serious injury or major crop damage.

Tree limbs did come crashing down in numerous locations around the area.

Probably the worst scene involved two family vehicles at the home of John and Jackie Rapp, 1009 N. Seventh St., Estherville. The stately tree snapped off and came to rest atop both cars parked in the driveway.

“We’ve been fortunate” are the words of both Terry Reekers, Emmet County Emergency Management coordinator, and Larry Niles, Farm Service Agency director.

Looking ahead, Reekers said the next week will be a wet one with a chance of thunderstorms every day.

He said it is expected the West Fork of the Des Moines River will crest Sunday in Estherville at 8.5 feet which is 1.5 feet above flood stage.

“The water will get into the park but shouldn’t affect homes or cause street closures,” he said, urging persons with ag interests or residences near the banks to pay close attention to the river situation.

Niles noted that compared to every other place in the state, northwest Iowa is “as good as it gets.”

With 99 percent of corn planted and 98-99 percent of soybeans in the ground, there is just a relatively small area that either needs to be planted or replanted because of wetness.

“The wet pockets or areas which didn’t get planted are quite isolated,” Niles said. He didn’t seem too concerned with ponding conditions, especially if the effect disappears in a three-day window.

The director said the ground cover is looking good but it is no secret heat units are desperately needed.

“Apparently there is not a lot of sunshine right now with chances greater for more rain.”

Niles said it would be ideal if Emmet County and the surrounding area could receive seven to 10 days of sunshine accompanied by 80-plus temperatures. “What is needed is a good root system and when the crops get bigger they can stand large amounts of rain better. We are very fortunate we missed the last two storms on Wednesday and Thursday.”

Having checked the weather reports, he said more rain is in store but not large amounts.

“I’m not aware of any wind damage to crops right now. That’s probably because the crops are smaller at this point.”

Niles said 65 percent of certification has been completed for the 2008 program. He urges producers who have not certified as of yet to do so in short order for insurance purposes.

Approximately 240,000 acres of row crop are planted in the county by 500-600 producers. The county is home to 1,200 farms.

Niles said 55 percent of the planted crop is corn while the remainder is soybeans.