By Patrick D. Bonin
As we begin to transition into the full heat of summer here in south Louisiana, the weather in our region continues to be active and of interest.
Storm systems moving across the central plains are projected to be potentially volatile again this week. Last Monday, on May 20th, an EF5 tornado devastated Moore, Oklahoma, a southern suburb of Oklahoma City.
Twenty-four people, including 10 children, died as a result of the tornado, which destroyed an incredible 12-13,000 homes and impacted more than 30,000 residents. With peak winds at 210 M.P.H., the tornado touched down at 2:56 p.m. local time in Newcastle and stayed on the ground for 39 minutes over a 17-mile path, ultimately crossing over a heavily populated section in Moore.
And on Saturday, flash flooding in San Antonio, Texas left two people dead and required first responders to rescue more than 200 residents trapped in vehicles and houses.
According to Internet reports, almost 10 inches of rain fell at San Antonio International Airport from midnight to mid-afternoon Saturday, causing nearly all local streams and rivers to experience extraordinary flooding.
Here in south Louisiana, heat is definitely ramping up, but climatologically at least, it has been unseasonably cool with above-average rainfall for April and May.
“That’s definitely a positive for the crawfish,” said Mark Frugé, co-owner of Frugé Aquafarms. “When water temperatures escalate, the crawfish will burrow underground. I don’t know the exact trigger temperature when that happens, but when it gets into the 90s on a regular basis, the end of the season is nearing.”
Current conditions, though, have benefitted the mudbugs, he said.
“It makes for more favorable production right now, with higher volume than usual for late May,” he said.
Typically, as the heat increases through June, the harvest will decline as the month progresses. Usually, depending on what Mother Nature has in store, we try to harvest through the end of June.
“As soon as it gets too hot, the fishermen don’t see the necessary return on their expense to pump water into the crawfish ponds,” he said. “Production just gradually tails off until we shut it down for another year.”
So just like with the start of the harvest in January, Mother Nature and the crawfish themselves will determine when the 2013 mudbug season officially comes to a close. Keep your fingers (and pincers) crossed for at least one more good month to go!