For the last two years, all the talk in Wisconsin has been about weather conditions bordering on drought. “Too little rain” this and “too little groundwater” that. This year, we have the exact opposite problem.

Sarah and I were scheduled to be at Effigy Mounds National Monument today to gather information for her graduate work. The plan was to meet several other people at the park, put a couple of canoes in the Yellow River, and paddle downstream a half-mile or so. At that point, we’d come ashore, unload the equipment from the canoes, paddle back to the vehicles, and do the whole thing again. Once we had all the equipment in place, we would construct this relatively large tripod (made of very thick aluminum) in a wetland on the border of a pond.

Using the tripod, we would take four-inch core samples of the mud. These core samples would then be analyzed by a lab. Sarah needs the lab analysis for her graduate work.

To arrive at the park bright and early this morning, we needed to leave Madison at oh-dark-hundred. To that end, we got the canoe on the car last night. Sarah rented a van on Saturday morning and she loaded it up with coring equipment yesterday while I worked on an article due today.

When we got back to the house last night after taking the dog out for a run, we got a message from the park naturalist at Effigy Mounds telling us that the park was closed due to extensive flooding. The Yellow River was also flooded and spilling over the land where we needed to work.

So, all our preparation was undone by the massive amounts of rain we’ve been getting this month. Madison is currently 9 inches above normal for rainfall in the month of May. We’ve gotten so much rain, that when we got forty-five minutes of very gentle mist on Saturday, we had standing water in the yard.

We’ve gotten maybe twelve hours of sun in the last week. This morning has been overcast. This afternoon will be overcast. Tonight, we’re going to get more thunderstorms. Tomorrow, more rain. If you call our house and we don’t answer, it’s most likely because we’re out canoeing on the city streets.