Friday, March 31, 2006

It's A Rain Again..

I can't believe I haven't heard that song on the radio lately.

This rain just keeps on coming and I'm taking a hit from it, being one who works outdoors. I didn't think too much about how many other people are taking hits from the weather until I read the article from the Sacramento Bee I attached below. I would of just supplied a link but the Bee requires registration and some of you don't want to bother with registering with the site.

The story got me to thinking: This rain has been going on for months. I've lost hundreds of dollars for as long as it's been coming down. I wonder just how much this will affect the economy and thus the State coffers after it's all said and done?

I know we heard some supposed good news a while back that the economy had picked up thus helping the State's revenue stream, helping to close the deficit gap. Will all this rain turn the economy around enough to, not just screw up the outdoors work industry, but the state budget, as well?

Only time will tell.
Businesses bogged down
Rainy March stalls builders, carwashes and everyone who works outside

Here's what all this rain means to Trevor Bryant: Tractors stuck in the soggy earth. Hazardous safety conditions for workers. Job delays. And most important: a lot less revenue.

"This is messing me up," said Bryant, president of Nor-Cal Pool and Spa Builders Inc. in Elk Grove. "It's been a pain. This is one of the worst years as far as rain."
How bad? The National Weather Service says it's already rained 18 days this month - one more breaks the record. The nearly 5 1/2 inches of rain so far are more than 170 percent above the average for March. Normal is 3.15.

And normal is what many businesses long for.

From carwashes to plant nurseries, business owners are feeling the effects of March's stormy path into spring. It may be good news for weather record keepers, but it's bad news for those whose work takes them outdoors.

Not only are customers fewer, but the wet weather can make it impossible for some to do their jobs. That means a hit to the bottom line.

"When we close for the rain, sales don't drop a little bit - it drops entirely," said Jerry Cavalieri, co-owner of Pacific Car Wash in Carmichael.

Dan Leonard sells soap for Car Wash Tech in Rancho Cordova. A hundred cars can drive through a carwash in a day, but on a wet one only a handful snake their way through the rotating brushes and pulsating streams of water, he said. One thing he knows: A closed carwash doesn't use much soap.

"In the wintertime, we get a drop of 70 percent in sales for soaps," Leonard said. "This has been a very wet and cold winter. It's a little abnormal." The business makes about 40 percent of its revenue in soaps, he said.

Sales also are down for shops that specialize in outdoor activities. Mike Upchurch, owner of Mad Cat Bicycles in Arden Arcade, said would-be bike owners don't spend a lot of time contemplating a purchase when it's raining. "And even if people want to buy a bike, it's hard to test-ride," he said.
Business is down about 40 percent during the cold months. "Bikes are in the garage, away from the rain and people are not thinking about bikes," he said.

He does expect things to pick up quickly "as soon as the sun comes out."

Sun is what Julia Oldfield, an office manager at Big Oak Nursery in Elk Grove, is praying for.
"Without the sun, flowers don't grow and they don't get color," she said. As a flower wholesaler, Big Oak sells to landscapers - who right now aren't exactly in a buying mood.

"We have stuff that's ready to go, but no one can plant it because it's so wet," she said.
The cold has forced the nursery to keep the plants longer in the greenhouse, making them susceptible to disease. But the rain and cool temperatures can do greater harm.
"They can get damaged from hail and the frost will burn the leaves," she said. "The rain can cause too much overwatering and cause the flowers to yellow."

Few businesses are as affected by a month of rain as builders. Bad weather just delays a construction season that only lasts so long.

"For many of our members, delays make the season much shorter because the rainy season will come again in November," said Ana Helman, spokeswoman for the North State Building Industry Association. "You can't drive heavy equipment in the mud."

Bryant, whose company specializes in pool construction, said the heavy mud can add as much as three hours to the day's cleanup. He's got a full schedule of work to do, but he's had to postpone half a dozen jobs because of the weather.

"Most people are gearing up for the summertime and they want the pool done by summertime, so we need to do it now," he said. "There's only so much we can do. We're still selling pools, but the problem is getting started."

Another weather monitor is Albert Garcia, owner of Garcia Concrete in Sacramento. In the concrete business, wet ground means little work. Garcia considers it taking a big chance when forecasters say there's a 30 percent chance of rain.

"If you pour (concrete) and it starts raining, you can cover it with plastic and hope for the best," he said. "Rain definitely slows down your business. Our job really doesn't allow us to work in the rain."
Until the weather clears, no one can work on the second phase of constructing a pool, when steel reinforcements are placed in the ground, said Sally Lewis, officer manager of Warren Lewis Construction in Citrus Heights.

"When you have a big hole and it rains, you have to pump out all that yucky water and you're up in the mud every day," she said.

It's also risky for employees to carry heavy equipment on slippery pathways. Workers' comp insurance rates are high. The stall in the work can take a toll.

"These men would rather be working full time then being unemployed," she said.
Many of them may end their day just as Bryant does - by falling asleep watching the Weather Channel.


At 10:59 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Was another big rainbow today between Arcata and McKinleyville, sun was going down, big arc, not quite the full double you saw the other day, but pretty close. Guess that's the side effect of all the rain.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Rose said...

"In the poetry of the Hawaiians, rain almost always is the rain of a particular place with a specific character and an allusion to an erotic element of some story draped with names.

The garden waits for the rain, responds to it at once, opens to it, holds it, takes it up and shines with it. The sound and touch and smell of the rain, the manner of its arrival, its temper and passage are like a sensuous visitation to the graden." 3/97 House&Garden W.S. Merwin Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in 1970

Of course it is probably easier to feel this way about rain in a tropical climate. Here the rain tends to be cold and dreary, and coupled with the shorter days of winter and the confinement to the house or loss of work, rain can be a rather depressing factor. Only the light spring rains, mixed with sunshine have that uplifting feeling. But perhaps it is all just a matter of persepctive. Maybe we should all begin to look at it more like the Hawaiians.

Like your rainbows, Fred.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Ginger said...

The flowers in the garden just love it! Transplanted canterbury bells today.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Ahhh, ginger, I am envious.

At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Joel Phillips said...

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