Monday, July 23, 2012

Thunderstorms and lightning impact area farms

Helix City Hall, Helix, Oregon
Fallow field erosion
Last week's thunderstorms and lightning impacted area farms in Umatilla County. Fields north of Pendleton had erosion in sheets which is very unusual, and also following the tillage lines which is more common.
As fallow fields this time of year have been tilled and prepped for fall seeding, the level of residue left on the soil surface offers little protection from the type of deluge of rain that a thunderstorm cell drops on a concentrated area.

In the rolling hills of our dryland farming area, the water, surface residue(straw pieces from last year's crop), and soil ends up collecting in roadside ditches and concentrating into significant amounts as the city of Helix can attest to.... In the case of thunderstorms - the rate and intensity of the downpour overwhelm the soils ability of capture the water and thus the fields at the heart of the storm saw some significant levels of soil loss.
On my drive home Friday, I was watch yet another thunderstorm and lightning event. The lightning started a fire in a field of wheat causing about $30,000 in losses according to local new media.

To finish the day, a double rainbow appeared during my evening walk...which really explains without words why I love living here in eastern Oregon...for life is certainly never boring, and if you don't like the weather, just wait an hour and it will change.

Cheers, Mary

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