While the past days’ rain has caused some road closures in Weld County, farmers are welcoming the moisture as a gift.
The rains in Weld County will have a mostly positive effect, though it is causing some delays, said Nick Colglazier, the director of state affairs for the Colorado Farm Bureau.
“Some guys are having trouble getting their hay put up,” Colglazier said. “One of my members has actually held off on cutting his hay because they knew this was coming, and it’s causing the quality to go down.”
Since hay can’t be baled until it is dry, hay that wasn’t harvested before these storms is losing nutritional value, and hay that was cut is awaiting dry weather for further action.
In addition, Colglazier said farmers could encounter problems from heavy, continual rain or flooding on fruit and vegetable crops, such as onions.
“Those are going to be a little more sensitive to the rainfall,” he said.
For the most part, though, Colglazier said the moisture is a good thing for the farming community and a welcome change from last year, when at this time 100 percent of Colorado was suffering from some sort of drought conditions.
For commodity crops like corn, the added water will help finish their growing cycle.
“A lot of guys are looking at this as a gift more than anything,” he said.
Though many areas in the state are currently harvesting their winter wheat crop, Darrell Hanavan, the executive director of Colorado Wheat, said the harvest was about 95 percent complete before the heavy rains started.
“Fortunately, most of the production was already harvested,” Hanavan said. “The wheat’s ripe and ready to cut, so as soon as the fields dry up and the moisture content of the wheat would dry down to about 12 percent, they’ll finish the harvest.”
The process of letting the fields dry could take anywhere from a couple days to a week, depending on how long the rain continues.
“We definitely need the moisture for planting next year’s crop this fall,” Hanavan said. “It’s going to be more beneficial than detrimental to us.”
Despite light showers falling throughout the day, standing water in Windsor has receded in many areas and all roads in town are open.
The town’s public works department spent much of the day cleaning debris from storm drains throughout town that had accumulated after 3.5 inches of rain fell in Windsor, the majority in a 90-minute period on Tuesday.
Windsor Public Works Operations Manager Coby Shurtleff said crews have also found road damage in the Hilltop Circle area that will need to be repaired once the road dries out.
“The storm yesterday has such a heavy impact, it was hard to handle,” Shurtleff said. “Today we’ve had a nice, steady rain, which hasn’t been a problem.”
As of 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, a total of 3.54 inches of rain had fallen in Windsor during the previous 24 hours, according to Jim Kalina, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder. In the same period, 4.17 inches of rain fell in Greeley.
“The Windsor area was probably the heaviest hit, and most of that fell in a 90-minute period,” Kalina said. “Some of our radar estimates show up to 5 inches of rain in that area.”
Around Weld County, the rain forced the closure of several roads, which remained closed Wednesday. They are: Weld County Road 66, between roads 29 and 31; Weld County Road 96 between roads 19 and 27; and Weld County Road 15 between roads 90 and 96.
Dominic Tatti, spokesman for the Greeley Fire Department, said Greeley hasn’t experienced many issues with flooding the past couple of days.
“The ditches are holding the water pretty well actually,” Tatti said. “We’ve had a few assists here and there, but nothing major.”
A flood advisory for the Cache la Poudre and South Platte rivers is in effect until Friday at midnight, Kalina said.
He said light to moderate rain is forecast to continue through the afternoon, decreasing after 6 p.m. Some overnight showers may occur, but Kalina said tomorrow will warm up with a forecasted 20 percent chance of rain. He said the weekend will continue to bring drier and warmer weather.