Sunday, October 10, 1999

Rain upsets traffic and festivals

But downpour helps recovery from drought

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        More rain fell Saturday than during the entire month of September but the skies should clear sometime today.

rain chart
        The soggy Saturday, with at least 1.74 inches of rainfall, made attendance droop at the Waynesville Sauerkraut Festival, forced organizers to temporarily pull the plug on downtown's World Jam concert series and helped motorists slide into each other more than usual.

        “We had an enormous number of accidents today, especially for a Saturday, when there's usually less traffic than through the week,” said Cincinnati police Sgt. Shauna Lambert. The sergeant is assigned to District 5, where one car rolled onto its side in a crash on Interstate 75 near Hopple Street.

        Between noon and 7 p.m., police throughout the city responded to nearly 60 wrecks, a dispatcher said. In contrast, police handled only about 40 wrecks for the same time period Friday.

        But in some ways, Saturday's rainfall was something to celebrate.

        Besides putting October on pace to become the first above-average month for precipitation since February, it should help make parched lawns look greener and also probably eliminated the risk of brush fires for the time being, said Don Hughes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio.

        And it created a splashing good time for hundreds of young soccer players.

        Although some high school teams canceled games, the Soccer Association for Youth-East, a recreational league with more than 3,000 children, allowed games for youths in grades 5 through 12 to go on despite the weather.

        “The kids didn't seem to mind playing in the rain,” said Melanie Bates, a league organizer. “The kids actually liked it. They were out running through puddles and having a great time, and since they weren't falling, we let them play.”

        Despite the rainfall, the Cincinnati area's total moisture level so far this year lags more than 5 inches below normal, Mr. Hughes pointed out.

        “It takes a while to recover from the drought,” he said.

        Forecasters called for the rain to taper off by this morning — good news for Waynesville sauerkraut fans, and for World Jam organizers who were hoping to resume the event today.

        Cloudiness was expected to linger, and there could be an afternoon shower, according to AccuWeather Inc.

        Temperatures were predicted to reach a high of 74 today.

        It should be cooler but sunnier on Monday and Tuesday, with lows in the 40s.

        The next chance for rain is expected to be Wednesday.


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