CASCILLA — As a certified public accountant with the BFMW Group in Charleston, James L. Mitchell is well acquainted with the importance of maintaining good records.
In fact, the 82-year-old husband of former longtime Sun-Sentinel genealogy columnist Faye Miller Mitchell — she wrote “Faye’s Family Ties” — calls himself “a compulsive recordkeeper.”
His wife, however, downplays the suggestion of compulsiveness in favor of saying that James is “a dedicated recordkeeper.”
In 2000, the Mitchell couple moved into their present home at 593 Ascalmore Creek Road, and two years later James picked up a hobby that he has not been able to shake since.
Not that he would want to, of course.
Using “a cheap glass rain gauge from Walmart fastened on a deck rail” out back, James has been recording daily rainfall totals at his house since 2002.
“It’s a sickness,” he said, laughing, adding that he finds it “interesting.”
After checking the rain gauge, he notes the daily totals on a regular calendar.
What he finds especially intriguing is the pattern of rainfall over the years.
At the end of each year starting with 2002, James has tallied the daily rainfall amounts to arrive at an annual total.
“I think it’s kind of interesting to look at it for 18 years,” he said, while sharing his numbers from 2002 through the end of 2019.
At 95.20 inches, James’ figures show 2002 to be the rainiest year at his residence over the 18-year period.
Two years later, in 2004, the second-highest total of 91.90 inches was recorded.
Third among the 18 years was the recently closed 2019, with 88.45 inches of precipitation.
“That was a pretty good amount, considering we didn’t get any rain in September,” James said. “There was a month-and-a-half we didn’t get any rain at all. Not a drop.”
James said his interest in rain stems partly from his curiosity about climate change.
“I’ve been around 82 years, and it’s getting warmer,” he noted matter-of-factly. “I’m not fully convinced that it’s totally manmade. Obviously, some of it is. Of course, I guess the rain has something to do with the climate change.”
James changes the topic.
After all, he cares much more about hard facts and figures than he does theories.
IN THE PHOTO: James L. Mitchell poses with the little rain gauge that he uses to record rainfall amounts at his Ascalmore Creek Road residence. (Photo by Faye Miller Mitchell)