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Come high water

| October 5, 2005 12:00 AM

Don't put away your life preservers or waders.

Five days into October and we've already surpassed the average precipitation for the month. During September we accumulated more precipitation — 2.37 inches according to the Forest Service — than we've seen in the ninth month since 1985 when 3.66 inches was recorded followed by another 3.07 inches in October.

November of 1985 was at average — 2.25 inches but December of that year was nearly bone dry, something we can't afford to see again. We've been getting by with dry conditions for most winters for several years and somehow surviving the fire season. That won't continue. That is the surviving the fire season. In addition, Turner Mountain Ski Area needs a good showing, er, snowing after last year's "year of no snow."

January, February, April, July and August were significantly below average this year — so much so that it's going to take an extremely wet October, November and December for us to reach our average precipitation of 17.56 inches.

We've had a good start this fall. The long-term forecast, something that makes meteorologists shiver, shows average temperatures and precipitation through December.

We'll see.

Average precipitation between now and December would help the Libby Library — float away.

On Sunday, when the weather cleared somewhat, rainwater that collected on the bowl-shaped roof of the library began leaking from 6 different places including a light fixture.

Librarians scrambled to cover the new shelves they were putting books into atop the new carpet.

Discussion has been ongoing with the county commissioners, who own the building, since early summer to fix the roof. Now we're heading into the wettest time of the year and the $40,000 remodel to the library interior is almost completed.

We better issue hip waders to the library staff for more than one use.

The good news, for the library, is that since weather records have been kept consistently — 1911 — there have been eight Septembers that have exceeded the average similar to this year and in only four of those years did the remaining months exceed average.

That reminds me of the daily weather forecasts in New York when I was a small lad — 50 percent chance of rain. — Roger Morris