Reporting Bill Hudson
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Green thumbs are getting a lot of unexpected help this summer. The University of Minnesota Extension’s garden plots have never looked better.
But what’s unusual is that intern gardener Dave Hicks has hardly touched a hose.
“No, not really. Mother Nature’s been doing all the watering for us,” Hicks said.
What began as a wet spring is turning into an even wetter summer. Rainfall across much of central Minnesota in particular has been both frequent and furious.
“In the north metro we’ve seen nine inches of rain so far in July,” said Assistant State Climatologist Pete Boulay.
Boulay said in many parts of the state, like Stearns County and the north metro, July rainfall is two and three times the normal amounts.
“It’s been a very wet July. We’ve had these big rain events, the ground is saturated and whatever rain that falls on wet ground has nowhere to go,” Boulay said.
The results of the torrential rainfall are obvious as you pass flooded farm fields and overflowing ditches, ponds and creeks. Along the Sauk River chain of lakes near Richmond, lake levels are up more than two feet. As the rain soaks into the soil, groundwater tables have been inching upwards. And for the first time since 2006, the entire state is drought free.
“I was having seepage, especially with the wet spring,” Anne Johnson said.
Her basement could use a little more drought. Johnson is among the many Minnesota homeowners battling water problems in their lower levels.
“Actually, in the winter during a snowmelt I’d end up with water too. So I feel very relieved to have it taken care of once and for all,” she said.
To rectify the problem, crews installed a system of drain tile under her basement floor. After jack hammering the concrete floor, they placed tile in a bed of rock to divert the infiltrating groundwater into a newly installed sump.
Johnson is just one of the countless customers Jeff Menke’s company, Basement Technologies of Minnesota, is drying out.
“The phone’s been ringing non-stop the last couple of weeks with all the rain. Never been like this before,” Menke said.