Select Page

     Weather extremes: “The federal government is starting to plan for climate change by making extended forecasts to help people plan for extreme weather – because what can go wrong when you combine the efficiency of government with the accuracy of weathermen?” – Jimmy Fallon

When I saw my neighbor carrying out carpet and padding from his basement, I knew that the record amount of snow and rain had caught up with him.

Sadly, he had just installed the carpet last fall after purchasing the home.

He didn’t know that his neighborhood and most of the state were in for a white winter and an unusually wet spring.

For most homeowners, few things are worse than a flooded basement. The carpet has to be pulled up and carried outside. Furniture suffers damage from the water’s wicking effect, and so does the sheetrock and insulation. It has to be torn out in order to prevent mold from taking over.

It’s a nightmare and it’s costly. Did I mention inconvenient?

My neighbor is also more than a little peeved that his homeowner’s insurance won’t cover any of the expense. In order to file a successful claim, he said, the water has to come from a water line break or a hot water heater blowing up. Groundwater bubbling up through the basement floor is more like a flood – not covered by his policy. But why would he have flood insurance unless he lived on the Jim River or Missouri or some other waterway that occasionally tops its banks?

As maddening as this is for my neighbor and other homeowners, it can’t compare to the tragedy caused by floods in our history. USA Today ranked them, which included the June 1972 flood in the Black Hills, the worst in state history. That disaster killed 238 people and totaled nearly $170 million in property damage.

Earlier this spring, in Nebraska, flood damage was estimated at more than $1 billion.

This year’s nationwide destruction hasn’t been all rain-related. Tornadoes and violent storms killed, at last count, 11 people and did millions in damage.
This makes my neighbor’s basement problem seem minor and my seeping wall insignificant.

And then there is the negative impact on spring planting. If you’re a corn farmer, the window is closing on getting seed in the ground and other options must be considered.

All told, it’s been a tough year for a lot of folks and not just in South Dakota.

I’m puzzled about why the weather has been so extreme. Despite the global warming groups who say climate change is to blame, we’ve had weather extremes forever. The cycles vary. Mother Nature is full of surprises, but unfortunately, weatherman Dave Dedrick is no longer around to explain why they happen.

June 5, 2019