After school let out, many students flocked to the pool under one of the occasional days with blue sky.  BRETTA GRABAU/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
After school let out, many students flocked to the pool under one of the occasional days with blue sky. BRETTA GRABAU/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
For the second year in a row, summer has started with downpours. Though there have been occasional days of sun and blue sky, many of the days in the past few weeks have been dark, dreary and wet.

With too much rain, businesses and farmers have run into hard times. Companies usually working outside have been flooded out. Farmers needing to plant crops have been delayed. Tourists may not want to see the sites of the parks or the bike trail due to the rain. Fisherman may not be able to fish well due to heightened waters.

Summer started slowly this year with cold weather and snow falling on into April, almost skipping the spring season and moving into a torrential and difficult summer. Due to the uncommon winter, school years stretched out in some districts to make up for exceeding the allotted snow days. Not only did the school kids from Fillmore Central feel the affect of the snow into summer, but so, then, did the pool in Preston.

"The pool opened the first week of June this year. Usually we like to open up a week earlier, but since school went for so long, it was difficult to get all of the lifeguards arranged for the summer. We also had some repairs to make to the pool," stated Jim Bakken, Preston's Public Works director.

Many of the lifeguards during the summer are high school students, but of course, school must take a priority so it was hard to get the lifeguards. At the same time, many of those using the pool facility during the summer are younger kids from the town hanging out with friends. Naturally, skipping school is not an option for them.

Fortunately, the belated opening of the pool and the subsequent ending of the school year proved beneficial for the pool repairs and improvement.

"The pump for the main swimming pool needed to be replaced and there was a broken lateral inside the sand filter allowing sand into the pool," Bakken commented.

"It took a week to get the pump. Most of the time doing the repairs was just waiting for the parts to come," he continued.

But after the pool opened, weather front after weather front came through, dousing the countryside and regional areas with water, putting the land through the proverbial washing machine washing, carrying away crops and soil. Most days were cloudy with occasional breaks of sun shining through.

But of the places relatively unaffected by the weather just happens to be the pool.

"We have only closed down about five or six days, and that usually only happened to be a few hours at a time," Bakken noted.

Since water is a tremendous conductor of electricity, anytime thunderstorms approach with lightning flashing across the sky and thunder rumbling in the distance, pools close down, protecting each person from being harmed due to the weather.

"We usually don't close the pool down for more than a few hours, but we wait until the thunder is long since gone before opening the pool again," Bakken added.

A few lessons have been cancelled due to the storms, however. Not long ago, pool staff pushed off one lesson because of the weather. The day planned for making up that lesson also received similar treatment, requiring another postponement.

"The numbers have been down a little bit because of the weather, but the weather hasn't had all that much affect on the pool," Bakken related.

And with all the extra rainwater flowing into the pool, the water is a little cool, but generally it is staying around 80 degrees. There is also a steady flow of chlorine released into the water, countering the rainwater. The extra rain is not having that much of an affect on the pool itself.

This year, because the pool opened a week later than normal, the last day of the season will also be pushed back to Aug. 17.

"We were thinking of planning to close on Aug. 10 because of the beginning of fall sports. The opening and closing really hinge on the school closing and fall sports," Bakken concluded. "Since the lifeguards are either high school or college students, some have sports in the fall or are heading back to college. But this year we think there will be enough staff that we can afford to keep the pool open a week later."

Even though the weather may not have all that much of an impact on the pool business and the number of people traveling to the pool, the region is in sore need for clear, sunny days and dry weather. Outdoor businesses would appreciate it, farmers would love it and recreational activities would seem much more interesting.