The farmers market in Market Square kicked off its 2014 season May 15 with a nice steady rain.
Darrell Sapp / Post-Gazette
Rain drops collect on glass with the Downtown skyline and the Fort Pitt Bridge in the background.
By Emma S. Brown / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If you thought it seemed like it rained a lot in June, you’d be right. If you thought it set some kind of record, you’d be wrong.
Lots of people grumbled about how wet it was last month, but according to the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, the 4.05 inches of rain that was officially recorded was 0.11 inches below normal.
Even though it didn’t rain every day, it might have seemed like it did. Pittsburgh recorded precipitation on 18 of the 30 days, almost as bad as last year’s sodden June, when it rained 20 days.
You’d think that would make the folks happy at Grow Pittsburgh, the nonprofit that encourages city farming. The rain certainly benefited folks who planted gardens, but the organization, which often conducts workshops to teach people about gardening, was forced to cancel many of its June sessions because there was too much rain.
Executive director Julie Pezzino is struggling to reschedule them.
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“We provide a lot of training on volunteer days, and it’s been tough,” she said. “When it’s pouring rain, it’s hard to get folks out here. If we cancel one, we have to work with the community to reschedule it.”
Philip Bauerle, information master at the Penn State Extension of the State Department of Agriculture, said the rainy weather presents problems for commercial farmers, small businesses and home-gardeners alike.
“The weeds are out of control, and the fungus,” he said. “A ton of farmers and private growers have been calling because there is black rot all over their grapes.”
The wet weather has impacted the area in other ways. High wind last week toppled several telephone poles in Cranberry and forced the closure of Route 228. The ground was so soggy that it delayed Penn Power’s efforts to put up new poles and restore electricity to 10,000 customers.
“You can’t make your infrastructure weather-proof,” said Penn Power spokesman Chris Eck. “Heavy rain can make the ground softer, which makes getting the poles back up a little more time consuming. We have to take extra precautions, go slower.”
Sports and entertainment events also have suffered.
The Mt. Lebanon Baseball Association, with players from kindergarten through 10th grade, was noticeably affected last month. President Chip Dalesandro estimated that the organization has spent four times its budgeted amount on Field Dry, a drying agent that is spread on soggy baseball fields. Volunteer coaches spent extra time trying to make the fields playable.
“We have to be done in July with our playoffs, and I don’t know if we’ll make up half those games,” Mr. Dalesandro said. “We’ve had one field that has been completely unplayable.”
Allegheny County’s wave pools also have seen a dip in traffic.
“The numbers are slightly lower than they were last year,” confirmed Amie Downs, spokeswoman for Allegheny County.
Kennywood closed early for five days in June, but the forecast of rain impacted attendance at the amusement park in West Mifflin more than the rain that fell.
“People see a 30 percent chance of rain and think they’re going to pick another day,” said Jeff Filicko, public relations manager for the park.
Emma Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3778.
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