Cool summer weather delights growers, frightens pool goers

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Andrea Behling
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

JANESVILLE—Farmers are loving Janesville's unseasonably cool summer.

Pool goers, not so much.

It's the third-coolest July in Janesville since 1948 according to Gazette weather records. The low temperatures can be attributed to the upper air pattern that has drawn cool air from Canada across the north central states, National Weather Service Meteorologist Bob McMahon said.

The cooler, drier Canadian air that has come into the region from spring into summer has helped hold down temperatures, McMahon said.

The pattern is expected to extend into August, he said.

“We're really not seeing any indication of a significant warm-up or change in what we're seeing now,” McMahon said.

Janesville had only 12 days in July with high temperatures that reached 80 degrees or higher. The average is 25 days, according to Gazette weather records

The Rockport Park Pool, Palmer Wading Pool and Riverside Wading Pool have seen significant decreases in attendance this month compared to last July, based on attendance numbers provided by Janesville Recreation Coordinator Shelley Slapak. Rockport saw 8,062 public attendees in July 2013. A preliminary attendance count of public attendees for this July is 5,205.

The Palmer Wading Pool saw 8,520 public attendees last July and 5,004 this July, according to a preliminary count. The Riverside Wading Pool saw 2,382 public attendees last July and 1,333 this July, according to a preliminary count. All preliminary counts are up to date as of July 27.

“We've had to send some lifeguards home throughout the day on slow days,” said Grace van Veldhuisen, head lifeguard at Rockport Park Pool

Rockport pool has closed an hour or two early about five times this summer because no one was in the pool, Slapak said.

Phyliss Williams said the cooler weather is making life better inside the greenhouses at K&W Greenery, which she and her husband own at 1328 E. Highway 14, Janesville.

“It's like permanent spring,” she said.

On hot summer days, the greenhouse can heat to 120 degrees.

This year, the plants are doing very well, she said.

“It's fun to garden when you're not suffering from the heat,” Williams said.

Last year, the greenery was closed for five days because of high temperatures, and staff was constantly watering, she said.

“We joked we had hoses coming out of the ends of our arms,” she said.

The lower temperatures have held the sizes of some plants and fruits back this summer, Williams said.

Tomatoes and green peppers especially have suffered because they have a narrow range for setting fruit, she said. It must be between 55 and 85 degrees.

The greenery's mum crop is a bit shorter than usual because of the cooler weather, but Williams said that's OK because sometimes they get too big.

“We're loving it,” she said.

Janesville farmer Doug Rebout doesn't have much to complain about, either.

The Roger Rebout & Sons Farm at 5547 W. Mineral Point Road, Janesville, welcomes the cooler weather for growing crops and taking care of livestock, Rebout said.

“The crops are looking beautiful, but they're needing rain right now,” Rebout said.

The cool weather keeps the farm's 4,300 acres from burning up. It also helps keep the animals cool.

The farm has 700 dairy and beef livestock, and it costs the farm to keep them cool with fans and a sprinkler system, Rebout said.

“Cooler weather is always better for animals,” he said.

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