Soggy Summer of 2013

Adverse effects for outdoor activity
Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:08 AM

The soggy summer of 2013 has barely a month to redeem itself. But relief from the rainy days doesn't seem to be in the near future.

Fall officially arrives Sept. 22, but weather forecasts for next few days are more like fall and days are expected to bring cooler temperatures and more rain.

The season has not been like average summers in Rutherford County or the southeast.

Rain was recorded 17 days out of 30 in June; 25  out of the 31 days in July and as of Aug. 13, rain or a trace of rain have been recorded 10 days, reports the data collector at the Broad River Water Plant.

Nearly 20 inches of rain was recorded in July.

That much rain has adversely effected summer's outdoor activities and the tourism industry.

Although tourism numbers released this week for Rutherford County showed a 5.6 percent increase  from 2012-2011, next year's figures may tell a different story.

Beach and water park operations in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock State Park have seen significant decrease in numbers all season.

Bo Williams, general manager of the beach and water operations, has been employed at the beach for eight seasons. 

"Between the cold and the rain, it has been the slowest season we've had. It has just, well there is nothing happy about it," Williams said.

His his calculations tell him it has rained every weekend, except one, since April.

Every weekend has not been a total wash-out, but rain has fallen either Saturday and Sunday all year hampering attendance.

"No one wants to lay on the beach in the rain," Williams said. "But there is certainly nothing you can do about it," he said. 'It's the nature of the beast.

"Obviously there's a demand for it," Williams said of the beach.

When the weather was good, Williams said more than 900 people came through the gate one one Saturday.

"We are soldiering on and doing the best we can," he said.

He also manages the Lake Tours but they have been less effected because of the covered tour boats.

Up the road in Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, General Manager Mary Jaeger-Gale, has also seen the effect on attendance.

Tourism numbers were up for the Park last year, but this year has been a difference story. 

"We are totally dependent on the weather and the weather hasn't been a friend to us this year," said Jaeger-Gale.

The access of rain has impacted the Park's hiking trails. 

"Everything here is weather sensitive," Jaeger-Gale said. "Right now they are working on the lower trails to the waterfalls," Jaeger-Gale said.

 The rains caused a major rock slide on the trail. A majority of the work has been completed, but there is still work to be done.

 Heavy rains also created a large hole in the main road up to the rock that has taken months to repair.

"One section of the road is one lane only," Jaeger-Gale said.

Although hiking has been decreased to a  minimal most of the summer, there are still activities going on inspite of the rain.

"Music on the Mountain brought a nice crowd last weekend," she said.

"We haven't seen a summer with this much rain in a very long time and we know that because we track the weather every day," said  Jaeger-Gale, who has been at the Park 32 years.

"This is by far the wettest season, most rainly weekends, we've had. Historically  we've had only a few weekends that were not rain-outs."

Any activity or events that are held under the shelter or in The Meadows have attracted guests, she said.  

Weather permitting, the Park is showing the movie, "The Hunger Games" on Sept. 7. 

The movie begins at 8 p.m. For more information visit the Park's website: www.chimneystaterockpark.com

Outdoor activities do not look very promising for the next few days. Today's forecast is 40 percent chance of rain; Saturday is 70 percent chance and Sunday's rainfall prediction is at 60 percent. Rain is expected through next Tuesday.