Rain, rain, go away! And take the cold with you! County deals with odd spring weather

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After a couple of days of beautiful, warm and sunny spring weather, Switzerland County residents fell victim to the old Indiana adage last week:

“If you don’t like the weather in Indiana, wait a couple of hours, and it will change.”

Unseasonable cold temperatures mixed with heavy rains last week to make county residents change plans and call cancellations – causing quite a back up in planning.

The cold weather began last weekend as children hunting Easter Eggs on the courthouse lawn did so in winter coats; and that was followed up by days of rain that was very heavy at times.

Several inches of rain fell through the week, creating pools of water in many yards; and causing several county creeks to overflow their stream beds.

Saturday night’s Switzerland County High School prom was held at General Butler State Park in Carrollton, and although heavy rains struck the area at times, some minor modifications were made and none of the prom-goers got wet. The crowning of the King and Queen was moved inside due to the rainy conditions, and students were unloaded from their vehicles under an overhang while their vehicles were valet parked by members of the Switzerland County Lions Club.

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At Switzerland County High School, athletic director Kent Dunning was busy trying to find days to play spring sports.

“We lost three baseball games, three softball games, a golf invitational, and two track meets because of the weather,” Ken Dunning said. “The tough part now is rescheduling. It’s going to turn our entire spring schedule upside down.”

Kent Dunning said that not only is it tough to reschedule with other schools to find corresponding dates where both schools are open and can play; but it’s also tough to find umpires to officiate at those rescheduled games, because most area umpires already have their spring booked and have full schedules.

“For instance, today would have been a great day to play a softball game,” Kent Dunning said on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. “But we couldn’t find umpires to do the game, so we couldn’t play. It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do.”

Kent Dunning said that the conference games that have been missed will have to be made up – but that may necessitate the cancellation of non-conference games on the schedule in order to get ORVC games played by the end of the season.

“That’s an unwritten rule among schools,” the athletic director said. “Everybody understands that you have to get your conference schedule in, and that’s what everyone’s scrambling to do right now, too. We may have to cancel some games on our schedule with non-conference teams so we can play a conference game; and some of those non-conference schools may cancel us because they’ve got to get a conference game in. The conference always comes first, and it all works out.”

But with just about one month left before spring sports teams begin to participate in state tournaments, Kent Dunning is feeling the pressure to find open dates.

“There’s just not enough days in the week,” he laughed.

Along with that pressure, the athletic director is also organizing upcoming tournaments, as Switzerland County will host both the baseball and softball sectionals this year; as well as be the host school for the ORVC golf tournament, which will be held at Vineyard Golf Course in Quercus Grove.

“We’ve got a lot to get done,” he said.

Some games have already been rescheduled. The softball game with Lawrenceburg will now be played here on April 26th; while the softball game with North Decatur will be played there on May 3rd.

A baseball game with Lawrenceburg will be played here on May 9th.

“We’ll see how the rest of the spring goes,” Kent Dunning said.

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While the rainy weather is causing problems with athletic events, for county farmers, the rain – at this point – isn’t having a critical affect.

County farmer Eric Welch said that it’s a little too early yet for farmers to be fully in their fields, so last week’s rain really didn’t hit the agriculture community very hard.

“It definitely made the ground wetter, but it wasn’t at a critical point,” Eric Welch said. “More than anything, we are needing some heat. We need warmer weather.”

With the recent cold weather, the rain that has fallen isn’t being evaporated by the warmer weather. This is causing the soil to stay wet, and that could impact farmers when they try and get out into their fields in the coming weeks.

“Most farmers like to be in the fields on the 20th of April or after,” Eric Welch said. “Good sunshine and some wind is what we’re needing right now. That would dry the ground out.”

Eric Welch said that he’s been in his fields doing work like fixing ditches in preparation for the planting season, and anticipates getting his planting started next week.

Through all of the rain and cold, however, he does see one bright spot.

“I’ve been telling people that I would rather have the rain last week then have planted and then get that rain,” he said. “If we would have already planted, all that rain and cold could have rotted the seed, and that would have been bad for everyone. A perfect scenario would be to get that rain early, get some sunshine and wind to dry the ground out, and then get good weather for planting. Right now with these overcast days, it’s really doing nothing for the ground.”

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If athletic teams and farmers are wanting some sunny and warm weather in the coming week, officials at the National Weather Service say that they may be disappointed.

A 10-day forecast shows the chance for morning showers today (Thursday) before sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s come in on Friday and Saturday. Sunday looks to be the warmest day of the coming week, with sunshine still in the forecast, but that all changes on Monday and throughout the rest of the week.

Although temperatures next week are predicted to be in the mid 70s, there is a 30-percent chance of thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday; and that percentage rises to 60-percent for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.