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Published: 5/16/2006

Weather relief not expected until weekend

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mona Macksey prepares to plant flowers at the Toledo Botanical Gardens, where tree peonies soak up the rain. Ms. Macksey says rainy weather can be a wonderful time for planting in the garden. Mona Macksey prepares to plant flowers at the Toledo Botanical Gardens, where tree peonies soak up the rain. Ms. Macksey says rainy weather can be a wonderful time for planting in the garden.
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The soggy weather that began last Wednesday is expected to continue through at least Friday afternoon, a nine-day stretch of rain that's unusual for this part of the country.

The National Weather Service and AccuWeather Inc, a private forecasting service in State College, Pa., are predicting sunshine and overcast conditions at various intervals from Saturday morning through Monday night - but no big downpours on Friday night. AccuWeather isn't ruling out the possibility of a shower Saturday afternoon.

Putting faith in long-term forecasts can be risky. But the break in the weather could continue at least through the Memorial Day weekend.

AccuWeather is predicting temperatures of 80 and above May 25 through May 28, with only a possibility of rain May 25. Thunderstorms are likely May 28, it said.

So, for the rest of this week, residents must cope with the inconvenience of canceled baseball games and more time away from their barbecue grills.

"It's a cross-your-fingers thing," Matt Berg, a Maumee Little League coach, said about scheduled games and practices.

For tall grass that's seemingly getting taller by the minute, people can mow between showers and remove clumps of wet grass that stick to the bottom of their mowers. But be sure it's a sharp blade. Dull ones on wet grass will damage your lawn by bending, pulling, and ripping blades of grass, said Keith Large, owner of All Green Inc., a mowing business.

Be ready for rapid growth, especially if you've fertilized your lawn. Fertilization "almost acts like a steroid" when it gets this much rain, he said.

Lawn mower decks should be raised high enough so that mower blades cut off no more than a third of the grass. That helps keep the grass from getting stressed, Mr. Large said.

Area streams that flow out to Lake Erie are taking a pounding from raw sewage that is overflowing into them because of the excessive rain. Days ago, a congressional budget committee recommended cuts to the federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund - the nation's bread-and-butter for local sewer projects, including Toledo's - for the third straight year.

Toledo now appears overwhelmed just trying to document this month's overflows on its Web site. No updates have been posted since the May 2 primary election, when an all-day soaker apparently contributed to an abysmally low voter turnout of 13 percent.

Records show the May 2 rain caused 15 parts of the city to overflow with sewage, more than all the combined overflows during April. One such overflow on May 2 lasted nearly eight hours. Another lasted 6 1/2 hours, two others lasted 4 1/2 hours, and one lasted nearly three hours.

Dina Pierce, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman, said the agency was not aware of the volume and frequency of overflows.

Contact Tom Henry at:

thenry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6079.



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