ELC adjusts well to inconsistent conditionsFor those of you who were singing “Rain, rain, go away” when the area was getting doused in water — you certainly got what you wanted.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
For those of you who were singing “Rain, rain, go away” when the area was getting doused in water — you certainly got what you wanted.
The final 10 days of June didn’t see any accumulation in Red Wing, at least not in addition to what flood waters from up north brought to the region. As far as what the sky brought down, there was no rain beyond June 20.
There was, however, an abundance of humidity that stretched into the first week of July as well.
So many ups and downs in weather conditions can cause trouble for some people, especially those who thrive on the outdoors.
The Red Wing Environmental Learning Center offers a variety of activities for youth throughout the summer.
The problem? They all take place outside.
“You can’t predict what Mother Nature’s going to do for you,” ELC Executive Director Jason Jech said, keeping a positive attitude about the conditions. “It shouldn’t stop you completely.”
Canoeing, kayaking, biking and rock climbing are excellent ways to get kids outside while they have some time off from school, but when the fresh air turns into hot and humid air, some tasks get harder to complete. The same is true for when pouring rain covers the town and river waters start rushing.
Even when said circumstances arise, ELC staff members think twice about canceling any of their activities.
“There’s a lot of things you can do,” Jech said. “You just modify your plan and come up with ‘Plan B.’”
For example, he said, the rocks on Barn Bluff get slimy and somewhat sweaty in extreme heat and humidity, so rather than continue with rock climbing classes on certain days, the group will play in a creek or find other ways to have fun near water. Such weather certainly occurred several times throughout the month, reaching into the 90s on June 9, 10, 19 and 27.
The bright side of warm weather is it creates an excuse to spend time on the water. Canoeing and kayaking can’t be stopped by the sun.
They can, however, be stopped by heavy rains. If the Mississippi River’s current is too strong, ELC staff will find other things for participants to do out in nature. Torrential rain pounded Red Wing in mid-June, specifically on the 14th when 6.37 inches accumulated. Another 2.61 inches followed on June 17 and 1.31 inches were recorded on June 20.
While the rain prevented river action for a short time, it ultimately increased watercraft possibilities in the days following as flooded areas were suddenly accessible by canoe.
“Anytime you have something happen, it presents an opportunity,” Jech said, mentioning the Cannon River Bottoms. “All that would be land becomes water-covered so we can paddle right between the trees.”
Of course, safety comes first in every situation. But since the Cannon River Bottoms really have no current, it’s a harmless area for kids to see parts of nature they wouldn’t normally experience, he said.
If the weather patterns from June continue throughout the summer and Mother Nature throws more curveballs at local residents, Jech and the rest of the ELC staff members are prepared to knock each one out of the park and adjust their activities accordingly.
There’s only one thing that can keep them from staying outside.
“The biggest threat would be where there’s a thunderstorm and we have lightning,” Jech said. “That’s when we’d probably actually cancel.”
June by the numbers
High: 95 degrees on June 27
Low: 48 degrees on June 1
Average daily high: 81.8 degrees
Average daily low: 60.8 degrees
Precipitation: 11.12 inches of rain
Sources: U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3, Red Wing Waste Water Treatment Plant