The Great Miami River Trail running along the Great Miami River in Middletown is closed in several locations due to high water. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Nick Graham
Photo: Nick Graham

Butler County struggling with near-record rainfall: ‘This is unbelievable’

The region has received near-record rainfall so far in 2019, and based on the weekend weather forecast, that’s not going to improve. The area has received 33 inches of rain this year, a foot more than normal, according to the National Weather Service. The rainfall is the third highest for this area, trailing only 2011 (37.57 inches) and 1882 (33.37 inches), according to NWS records.

More rain is forecast for Saturday and Sunday and about every day next week, said Meteorologist Myron Padgett. He said there will be more wet days than dry days as the rainy pattern continues to soak the region.

That’s bad news for businesses already hurting because of the inclement weather.

Farmers, construction companies, water restoration companies and those in the entertainment business say the wet weather is impacting their bottom lines. While the corn and soybean crops have been planted at Garver Family Farm on Ohio 63 in Monroe, retail sales of flowers have been slow, said Janet Hazelwood, whose daughter and son-in-law own the farm.

“People just aren’t in the mood to plant flowers,” she said. “They’re afraid to buy because they think it will be too wet to plant.”

She said the fields are “wet in spots,” but the ground dries quickly because of the under-ground drainage system.

Jeff Wieland, owner of Wieland Builders in Fairfield, has about 15 homes in different phases of construction. He said the construction business is “difficult enough” without the rain. When workers are constantly battling the elements that slows construction projects, he said.

“We just have to work through it,” he said.

That includes timing the pouring of concrete when it’s not raining and constantly making adjustments to keep their equipment and building supplies dry, he said.

When asked about the weather, Wieland said, “This is just unbelievable.”

 

This recent rainfall couldn’t have come at a worse time for golf courses, as well. Joe Robertson, director of sales and marketing at Shaker Run Golf Club in Lebanon, said the club lost 260 scheduled rounds Saturday and Sunday due to the rain, and the soggy conditions have delayed some of the bunker work scheduled this week on the 27-hole layout.

He said 80 rounds were canceled Saturday and all 180 rounds were cancelled on Sunday, Father’s Day, when the course closed after the lake spilled over its banks, covering some of the fairways. The fairway on No. 9 Woodlands was under water Sunday afternoon, Robertson said.

Despite the rain and the lost rounds, Robertson said there is reason to celebrate at Shaker: The course exceeded its goal for number of rounds during April and May.

Those who work at DryPatrol are fighting two battles locally: Damage caused by the Memorial Day tornadoes in the Dayton area and the recent rain in the region.

“It’s a big mess,” said Dana Oakley, senior account manager.

She said workers have been busy removing water from flooded basements of tornado victims while covering their roofs with tarps to keep out more water.

Then, every day around 5 p.m., about the time people get home from work, DryPatrol receives an increase of service calls for flooded basements, she said.

The Broad Street Bash, a downtown concert series in Middletown, was cancelled Wednesday night because of the predicted inclement weather. It was the second of three concerts already postponed this year, organizers said.

The heavy rains have also made the Great Miami River faster, higher and more dangerous. The river is seven feet above average in Middletown and six feet about average in Hamilton for this time of year, according to Brenda Gibson, public relations director for the Miami Conservancy District.

In Hamilton, the speed of the water is 29,600 cubic feet per second, or 800 percent higher than the normal rate this time of year, Gibson said. In Middletown, the water speed measures 28,600 cubic feet per second or 625 percent above average, she said.

She warned boaters to stay out of the river because of the swift currents and the floating debris.

Part of the bike path along the river in Middletown remains under water and barricades are up.

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