“I Wish it Would Rain” by The Temptations
If you listen to the words of that iconic song, then, yes, we do think it “…strange, that you are wishing for rain.” There is a quarter mile crack in the roadbed of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell and washed out roads have been reported from all over western North Carolina. The eastern half of the state has been deluged with storms and flash floods practically every week since late May. The center of the state; the Piedmont, Triad and Raleigh areas, are very soggy, but are just getting by. River levels of the French Broad, Neuse, Catawba, and Cape Fear are full and/or close to capacity. Reports of mold, mildew, leaks, drainage problems, and wind damages are coming in from all over. There is no doubt that this has been one of the wettest springs and summers on record. This is unusual considering that there have been no tropical storms or hurricanes to influence the climates so far. Whew! What a change from last summer.
On Tuesday, August 6, noted meteorologist, Greg Fishel, of WRAL TV Weather Center quoted the following statistics: “To this date in 2012, we had recorded a total of nine days where the temperature was 100 degrees (F) or more. Plus, we had experienced 44 days of temperatures in the 90’s.” Those 2012 numbers Mr. Fishel reported are just to the beginning of August. Many of us remember that long hot summer that continued through the middle of September.
Each type of climate and local weather patterns brings its own signature of problems in archiving and conserving the cherished artifacts around North Carolina. Spring and summer of 2012 was the year of extreme heat and typical southern humidity. This year problems are evolving because of the extended periods of constant rainfall, high humidity and flooding. Although we are thankful for the cooler temperatures, the pervasive dampness can wreak havoc with artifacts of paper, wood, and fiber. Please be sure to watch items closely and to take preventative measures to preserve these special collections. Fans, lights, dehumidifiers, proper storage and staff vigilance can help forestall any potential insect, mold and/or mildew problems.
My own home attic has created the headache of condensation on the AC ductwork that is dripping through the ceiling tiles. Thank heavens it is not a roof leak, but that is symbolic of the weird weather we are experiencing. The “artifacts” in my attic are only sentimental, but definitely replaceable. What is happening at your site? Be sure to take advantage of the cooler weather to check attics, closets, storage units and other areas for possible problems. In addition, remember, we here at C2C are always available to help you. Be sure to check the list for upcoming Disaster Preparedness Workshops and Collection Care learning opportunities. Stay dry!
C2C Disaster Preparedness Coordinator
NC Department of Cultural Resources