Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

July 15, 2013

Tidbits: Maybe there's a silver lining to these storm clouds

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

— Remember being a kid and timing when it was time to get out of the bath by when your fingers and toes were wrinkled up?

Right now, I'm feeling like my whole body should be shriveled up just like those fingers and toes. It's rained and rained and then, just when you thought it was done, it's rained some more.

According to Crossville meteorologist Steve Norris, Crossville is 14 inches above normal in rainfall and precipitation for the year. In fact, more rain fell in the first week of July than the area would normally get for the entire month.

That's led to some waterlogged ground being unable to support large trees, dams releasing water as quickly as they can to relieve pressure on the structure and several instances of standing water covering roadways.

I had to have my car serviced recently and I wondered, could they convert my four-wheeled vehicle to something suited for amphibious travel? During a recent gullywasher, I had to stop and turn around three times just to get from one side of our fair city to the other and make my way home. Amphibious travel would have been great! It would also have been nice if other motorists hadn't been so annoyed by my reluctance to go driving through a puddle.

I've heard many complaints about the weather, many being voiced by those spending the summer home with kids that are spending their days indoors. While many kids enjoy sitting indoors these days, playing their video games and computer games, many parents still like to kick the kids out for a little while each day to make them get some fresh air, get a little exercise, work off a little of that energy and to give them a few minutes of peace and quiet. Others can't believe it's already July and their skin is as pasty white as it was back in the dead of winter.

It was suggested that, to improve moods with the soggy weather, we start calling the rain liquid sunshine. But as Mr. Shakespeare said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," you can call the rain whatever you want but it's still wet.

But perhaps taking a step back can help us find the silver lining to those rain clouds that just don't seem to want to leave our company any time soon.

First, less time spent washing your car. I, personally, don't believe in washing a car when there's rain on the way. Just park it outside to get rinsed off. If you were to wash it, you know there would just be mud you'd have to get rid of later.

Then there's those flower beds. If they haven't drowned, you're probably saving a small fortune on watering all those beautiful flowers this time of year.

I read recently that we could even find a little more savings on electricity, with TVA running its hydroelectric dams more than usual for July.

"It's free fuel that falls from the sky," TVA spokesman Travis Brickey told the Knoxville News Sentinel. The agency that manages the Tennessee River system is spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per second from its dams in an effort to reduce the water held in reservoirs.

Hydroelectric power generation is up 40 percent above what TVA had planned for the year, and customers should see those savings in September.

I'm certainly not going to complain if whoever is doing that rain dance would knock it off already, and when it does, I promise not to complain even once about it being too hot. But, there are some good points to our rainy weather, too. Try to remember that should it keep raining on your parade.

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Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.