St. Louis Post Dispatch
June 17th, 2015
By Jack Suntrup
People like swirling around Merlot and gazing out at acres of grapevines — just not when rain is pummeling down.
It’s crowded at the Mount Pleasant Estates when the sun is out. But not so much when rain falls as it has the last few days at the winery overlooking the now-over-its-banks Missouri River in St. Charles County.
“It’s one of those things where we want summer, and we seem to be in a tropical forest or something,” said Chuck Dressel, the winery president. “We’re farmers first and foremost with our grapevines and our vineyards, and I don’t remember a pattern like this for the last 20 years.
“This weather is very strange right now.”
Forecasters predict the rain will keep pouring. The National Weather Service forecasts an 80 percent chance of rain Wednesday, 70 percent chance Thursday and 50 percent chance Friday.
There’ll be a chance of rain until Monday, when forecast models say it will be mostly sunny with a high near 86. And when it’s not raining, it’ll probably be cloudy, according to the weather service.
It has rained a little more than 6 inches so far this month. The historical average rainfall for the first half of June in St. Louis is 2.26 inches, said Jayson Gosselin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
People who work out in the elements are feeling the effects.
“It looks like it’s going to be extremely, extremely foul for the rest of the week,” said David Wrone, spokesman for the St. Louis County Department of Transportation. He said that roadwork around the county had been put on hold by rain.
“You can’t do anything about the powers of nature; you just have to wait it out,” Wrone said.
Even though nature is unpredictable, contractors still try to predict how many rainy days there will be before they start a project, said Jeff Aboussie, secretary treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council.
“You always factor in so many rainy days, but we’ve really exceeded that so far,” he said.
Even where people are trying to get wet, the rain makes a difference.
Lifeguards at the Webster Groves Aquatic Center have been sent home early some days, but nature seems to be teasing these guards.
Instead of lightning strikes and thunder — which would shut down the pool — Webster Groves Recreation Manager Miki Koelsch said this rain was tame but persistent. It keeps the pool open, but keeps people away.
“It’s raining, but there’s not as much lightning this year,” she said. “There’s only been one or two days that have been totally rained out this year.”
Humans aren’t the only ones getting antsy. So are the pests.
Jay Everitt, staff entomologist with Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions, said heavy rain posed challenges and opportunities for his business.
“When we get rains like this, it drives our phones to ring a lot more,” Everitt said. “Heavy rains are like a tsunami to insects. They will seek shelter wherever they can, including inside homes.”
On the other hand, Everitt said, rain may complicate processes to eliminate such pests.
“Rain will degrade some of our chemicals and not allow as much of them to be exposed to the pests, which sometimes requires us to come out and do additional service to get things under control.”