Soaking rain lessens drought conditions

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – We've been reporting on drought conditions for months now, so we all know we needed Wednesday's rain.  With such a deficit, the most important question is will this latest rain really make a difference.

Normally when it rains it's gloomy.  People are grumpy, wishing they could snuggle on the couch all day.  But almost everyone we talked to Wednesday had big smiles on their faces.  They were celebrating the fact that this rain could save the landscaping they've watched slowly die in this summer's drought.

Jeanette McKittrick's prayers have been answered.

"Pray for rain, pray for rain and we finally got some rain," she exclaimed.

When she looked out into the raindrops falling on her beloved yard Wednesday morning, her reaction was pure excitement.

NBC12's Gardening Expert Doug Hensel said the way this weather pattern played out is ideal.

The summer drought conditions made the ground very hard.  Without the foundation of the light rain earlier in the week and the slow, consistent rain Wednesday, any heavy downpours would create flooding.

"It would come down so fast, the ground couldn't absorb it so we may have seen a lot more runoff," Hensel explained.  "If tomorrow is a harder rain our ground is already soaked so that water is going to seep right on through."

The First Warning Weather Team is forecasting between 3 and 4 inches of rain through Thursday.  If that happens, our one storm total will surpass all the rain Central Virginia saw in the entire month of August.

That's music to McKittrick's ears as she surveyed the damage she'll have to repair before opening her yard for April's Garden Week.

"The ferns have really struggled because they love water so much," she said.

She thinks no matter how hard she tries, she can never water her plants as well as Mother Nature.

"I'm delighted to get out my rain coat.  I'm delighted to get out my umbrella, my clogs and I may well be gardening in the rain," she said.

The only question at this point is whether or not Thursday's downpour will be enough to get rid of drought conditions.  Of course, only time will tell.

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