Rain helps ease long drought

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Al Key/DRC
A truck splashes water on University Drive on Wednesday.

For farmers in Denton County, the last couple days of rain have been a lifesaver.

After suffering through several months of drought, the skies opened up Tuesday and a steady shower began that lasted through Wednesday evening.

“A lot of small grain [that] people thought was lost is coming back,” said Dennis Smith, owner of Dennis’ Farm Store. “We’ll probably need to give it a few more days before we know the extent of it.”

Smith said he expected things to go well for various crops once the sun comes out for a few days following more than 3 inches of rain during about a 36-hour period.

“It’s been since March since we have had this much moisture,” he said.

The slow and steady rain has been especially good for the water to have time to soak into the ground and it would help a lot with spring planting, Smith said.

“People hadn’t even tried to work their gardens [recently],” he said. “This will get everyone in the mood as soon as it dries up, to get back in.”

Jody Gonzalez, Denton County’s emergency management coordinator, said he and other officials are excited to get out from under the drought the county has been in.

“A lot of folks don’t realize how significant it was,” he said.

The drought affected the county throughout 2012, Gonzalez said, and had led to burn bans that were issued in June, September and November. The last ban was finally lifted the day after Christmas.

He noted that area lakes were at significantly low levels in recent months.

As far as damaging effects from the current rain, Gonzalez said the county is not having any real issues with flooding.

“Municipal roadways, construction sites — sometimes they get blockage where debris has been sitting out for a long time and it covers up areas where drainage is supposed to go,” Gonzalez said.

However, a number of accidents have been reported in the area because of the rain, he said.

Denton police spokesman Ryan Grelle said the department worked a total of 29 accidents from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 11:25 a.m. Wednesday. Of the accidents, 28 were minor and one was major.

Steve Ormand, owner of Texas Roof and Fence in Denton, said he was watching the weather Tuesday night and told his employees to be ready with raincoats in the morning because they were in for a long day.

“So far I have had 45 homeowners and 11 businesses — at least 95 percent of those here in Denton — call with leaky roofs, with more coming in as we speak. It’s a dangerous job, but someone has got to do it,” Ormand said. “Those roofs are very slick up there … and with the rain, it just makes things worse. It’s been a while since we have had this kind of rainfall in a 48-hour period. I believe the last time was 2010. It’s been over two years since we had this large of a demand.”

Despite the accidents and the roof woes, Gonzalez said the rain has been positive for the county.

“And we didn’t get any big thunderstorms,” he said. “There’s nothing like rain without high winds and lightning.”

Staff Writer Megan Gray contributed to this report.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6889. His e-mail address is blewis@dentonrc.com .

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