By Brent Frazier, mayor
City of Pelican Rapids

“Rain, rain, go away and come again another day.”

These are the opening words to a famous 17th century nursery rhyme that we all remember from our childhood.

These past few weeks we can probably say, “Snow, snow go away and come again another day.”

Here we are in the first weeks of January 2022 and we are suddenly getting into the snow, cold and blizzard mode. Is this the end a precipitation pattern or will it continue for many more weeks? Who knows, but we will all know the answer come May 2022.

This is nothing new as this same weather pattern has happened many times in the past.  Many of us remember the winter of 1996-97 when our community received approximately 99 inches of snow. That weather pattern of blizzards continued over several weekends. One didn’t dare go anywhere in the evening as one probably couldn’t get back home.

Weather patterns, minimal rainfall, excessive snowfall, tropical storms and blizzards have all happened in the past and will happen again in the future.

Precipitation is defined as any type of water that forms in the Earth’s atmosphere and then drops onto the surface of the earth: Rain, sleet, hail and snow.

Liquid water is an essential requirement for life on Earth, and it is something that we sometimes take for granted.

There is the same total amount of water on the earth today as there was in the beginning of time. Therefore the glass of water that you drink today is a part of the same water that has always been on the Earth, and thus part of the Water Cycle.

The Water Cycle is the process of how water moves from the ground, to the atmosphere and then back again to the ground as either in form of solid, liquid or gas.

As precipitation falls from the sky onto the ground, it runs off and is collected into the sloughs, lakes, streams, rivers and oceans. Some of this precipitation then evaporates back to the sky, where condensation occurs and hence falls back again onto the land.

We only visualize the bodies of water that are at ground level, but beneath the ground are moving streams of groundwater.

These streams of ground water are continually filled by the percolation (movement of water through the soil) and infiltration of water into the groundwater streams which discharge this water into our deep lakes and oceans.

Trees and vegetation also contribute to the Water Cycle through the intake of water by their roots and then releasing some of this water back into the atmosphere through their leaves by the process of transpiration.

The Water Cycle is complex in that water flows continually (as in a circle) by the help of different water movement vessels, but is simple enough in that it is a never ending and a continual moving process.

Our region has witnessed dry to drought conditions this previous year with very little snowfall in the winter of 2020-21 and very little rainfall in the spring, summer and autumn seasons of 2021. Therefore the water level of many area sloughs (potholes) had diminished to the point of exposing the slough bottoms.

This situation also carried over to our area lakes where the water levels also receded and exposed many feet of shoreline.

In both circumstances much wildlife, waterfowl and fish experienced reduced drinking water and also nesting and spawning areas.

Water is an essential requirement for life on Earth. We as humans capture our drinking water by means of; drilling water wells deep into the ground and pumping this water to the surface or by pumping water from surface water inventories.

These two sources of drinking water always rely on the Water Cycle and as to how much precipitation has fallen onto the Earth in a area.

The lower the precipitation totals, the lessened availability of drinking water, so therefore the higher the precipitation totals, the more availability of drinking water.

As the snow now falls from the sky and builds up into drifts and piles across our landscape, we need to keep in mind that when this snow melts this Spring season, it will help to replenish the water levels in our sloughs, lakes, streams, rivers and groundwater.

In turn this will give our region more of an abundance of water for wildlife, waterfowl, fish, water sport activities, and most importantly our precious drinking water.

So this snow that we are now receiving truly has benefits for wildlife, waterfowl, fish and mankind.

So in unison we can all say; “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”