Rain Puts Damper on Seasonal Work
Lynchburg, VA - For people who depend on the weather for work, seven days of rain this month can become seven days without pay.
Kip Dickens says he's a company man.
"This is hard work, man. Hard and dangerous work," Dickens said. "We are number one, first of all. The number one scaffolding company in the world."
Lately, the area just can't seem to escape the rain and flooding.
"You've got to love it to be here," Dickens said.
Dickens and his crew do work all over Virginia. In the last month, they've been rained on...all over Virginia.
"We've never had any rain like that before. It hurts us. You know what I mean? It's hard," said Dickens.
Lynchburg has already seen about two and a half inches of rain in July, nearly double the normal.
For the year, this city alone is more than half a foot above expectations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 5% of Virginia's workers started the summer in a job that requires mostly outdoor work.
The readings mean that around 210,000 people have been getting drenched with rain since May.
Many like Dickens say bad weather means no work, and no work means no pay.
"We have bills to pay. You know, households to take care of. It really hurts each and every family," Dickens said.
The rainy weather means taking calculated chances. Most workers aren't allowed to work if there's thunder and lightning.
But, each new cloud brings a harsh reality: not everybody can wait for a sunny day.
"We will work in the rain to survive," said Dickens.
Like a lot of crews, many say they try to plan the workday around weather, showing up earlier or later, based on the forecast.