PHEW!

PHEW!
In the scorched outposts of Clay County, they have a name for this blistering weather – hey call it summer.

Lately, however, the climate has consistently grown too toasty for even the most hardened South Dakotan.

At 2:30 p.m., Saturday, the temperature was an even 100 degrees. Forecasters from the National Weather Service had little good news to offer then.


The suffering would continue. Late Monday afternoon, when one would expect the bright sun to lose a bit of its bite, the sign of the Vermillion Federal Credit on Cherry Street announced to motorists that temperatures were lingering at 102 degrees.

Eight-year-old Gregg Conrad found the Prentis Park swimming pool to be the best place to play Monday.

Time and again, he jumped from the edge of the pool, submerging himself in refreshing water.

Those who had to work outside didn't let the heat stop them. Construction workers poured new pavements on city streets, continued to make progress on the Dakota Street reconstruction, and added yet a bit more to the city water treatment plant expansion project.

Vermillion citizens didn't let the heat stop them having fun. They went fishing and boating on the Missouri River, splashing their feet in the muddy water to cool off.

On Tuesday, scores of local golfers competed in a tournament at The Bluffs sponsored by the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company.

By the time all the golfers made it back to the clubhouse for a banquet meal, dark clouds had moved in, accompanied by a noise not heard in Clay County for much of the summer – thunder.

People naturally were hoping to trade the hot weather for a bit of rain. The temps subsided a bit. The rain, however, was spotty.

Clay County Extension Agent Matt Bernau checked a rain gauge located near the Coffee Cup truck stop Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. We received about a tenth of a inch of rain Tuesday; on Wednesday he discovered that an additional forty-hundredths had fallen.

A half inch of rain may not seem like much; especially with weeks of no precip and triple digit temperatures.

"If we hadn't gotten that rain, things could be a lot worse," he said. "I was up in the northern part of the county earlier this week, and there is some corn that looks really tough and some that didn't even pollinate. But that's really spotty."

Any moisture received right now will help the local corn crop complete a critical stage – pollination.

"I think Tuesday night's rain is going to help some of our corn, definitely," Bernau said. "I walked into a field this (Wednesday) morning, and there are some areas where the bottoms of the plants have turned brown, and you can tell they are struggling some.

"In other parts, they look real good," he said. "There may be some signs of moisture stress, but some of that depends on when the corn was planted."

Bernau is surprised at the progress the local soybean crop is making. "You can tell the plants are stressed from moisture, but the amount of pods on the plants, and the rain we received – I think we're looking at a fairly decent crop here, if we can continue to get a bit more rain."

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