Heavier rainfall has clouded pool-usage in early part of summer

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

It has been a disappointing first few weeks of summer for pool owners and swimmers.

After higher-than-normal rainfall in June, the early days of July have been marred by scattered storms and clouds.

The season so far has brought a change in the mood of pool owners from last year, when the hot, dryer summer months kept swimmers happy, said Maria Iovino, the pool retail manager for Iovino Tub and Spa in Penn Township.

“We just have a lot of frustrated owners that haven't been able to use their pools,” she said.

The dampened spirits began in June, when it rained on 15 days, according to the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh. The 5.48 inches of rain recorded last month was 27 percent higher than normal.

“June was the worst month, weather-wise, in 40 years that I've been in the business,” said Bill Cole of King Cole Pools and Spas in North Huntingdon.

Foot traffic in the store was a little slower in June, Cole said. Though sales of above-ground and in-ground pools were up, fewer people were buying supplies to treat their pools, he said.

“If it snows, you sell snow tires, but if it doesn't snow, you don't sell snow tires,” Cole said.

The less-than-ideal conditions are showing in the reduced attendance on some days at pools in the area.

If rainy weather is forecasted, the number of swimmers at Bel-Aire Monroeville Community Pool tends to drop by one-third to about 100, manager Ryan Tucek said.

“It's been down a little bit compared to last year. We had an amazing May and June last year,” he said. “Money-wise our numbers still look pretty close.”

Meanwhile, representatives at two swimming clubs in Murrysville say their members have been coping as well as they can, given the weather. A Fourth of July party at Murrysville Swim Club was cut short by an hour because of a thunderstorm, but the club maintains a full membership roster of about 360 people and has a waiting list, president Donna Duke said.

Members are accustomed to waiting out a storm to enjoy the pool later on in the day.

“Because they all live so close and locally, we're still having very good attendance,” Duke said.

The rain has curtailed spending concession sales at the pool at Meadowink Golf Course in Murrysville, but the club there makes most of its money upfront through memberships, assistant manager Jeff Traphagen said.

“With the technology, it's easy to continuously watch the forecast and try to anticipate how that will affect our staffing,” he said.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400.

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