FloodPenI was pleased with myself for being prepared for winter flood season well before it came on. We had taken down our little “flood pen” during the summer so we could mow that area. I re-built it slightly bigger for this year, to accommodate more sheep. It’s far from roomy, and nobody has a good time if it floods and the sheep have to stay crammed in there for a few weeks. But, it’s only a few weeks, so we’d get through it. And now that I have portable hotwire, I’d have some options of moving the sheep around while waiting out a flood.

I’m glad I got to building it ahead of time, so I could work on it when the weather was mostly nice. Last year, I put it off, and had to build it the day I knew I needed to  move the sheep in preparation for a flood. That was no problem time-wise, but it happened to be pouring down rain (which was why it was threatening to flood) so I had a crummy time of it. This year, I feel much more ready! Yay for me!

Flood Watching Online

image This is the time of year to be vigilant of flood warnings. Because we don’t have television, I have to remember to check weather reports and flood warnings online. This year, I downloaded The Weather Channel’s little toolbar tool. I don’t normally like to download junk like that, since it usually comes with advertising or other annoyances. But I actually really like this thing. It normally displays a little blue box in my toolbar with the current temperature for my city. But if there is a weather warning, it flashes orange or red. Once I’ve read the warning, then it turns to a solid orange or red. More than once, it’s caught my eye at a time when I should have been checking the weather, but had forgotten. It also warns for things like high winds, which is good, reminds us to put away things that would blow around. So, I think the little tool is a keeper!

Snohomish River at SnohomishWhen flood warnings are active, then I check the two flood gauges that are near us, usually ever several hours. Their real-time data is displayed online, which is so handy. What did farmers do before the Web?! 🙂 The national weather service has a projection tool for one of these gauges, showing what they predict it’s going to do. They’re often wrong, of course, but it’s still helpful to know what their worst case projections are. Looking at all of these tools, it gives a very good idea of which way the river is heading, and when it’s about time to think about moving the animals and stuff out of the fields, in case the dike over-tops. So far this winter, we’ve had about three flood watches, but our gauges never went high enough to start the sheep-moving process. But we still have several months to go!