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This was the scene on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 outside Terrell Hall and the Office of Admissions. Image Credit: Liz Phillips, Assistant Director of Admissions.

As we enter into a more typical summertime pattern (for now), let’s look back at how wet it has been so far in 2013. We’ll then compare 2013 to other wet years in the past decade to put everything into perspective.

2013

2013 Georgia Precipitation So Far. Image Credit: NOAA

Looking at map, we can see that areas north of Atlanta have seen on average around 40 inches of rain so far this year with most of North Georgia observing somewhere around 35 inches. To get an idea of how abnormal these rainfall totals are, let’s examine observed rainfall for Athens, Atlanta, Gainesville, Rome, and Macon for 2013 so far.

2013 Precipitation Summary for Select Cities in Georgia. Source Information: NOAA.

Some surprising things jump out at you when you look at the table. Athens, for example, has already seen 76% of its average annual rainfall and it’s only July! That’s pretty incredible. Atlanta is even closer to achieving 100% of their annual average rainfall. They check in at 83% so far for 2013. Amazingly still, Macon has almost as much rainfall from January to July as they are used to seeing all year! Macon currently has recorded 98% of its average annual rainfall for 2013! To put this into perspective, Athens finished 2012 with only 37.36 inches of rain, at only 80% of its average annual precipitation! Athens could very easily get to 80% of its average annual precipitation by the end of July this year.

We were in a drought last year, but not at all this year. It is crazy how one year can make such a huge difference!

Rainfall totals (in inches) for Athens, Georgia since June 28, 2013:

June 28: Trace of rain (not measurable)
June 29:  0.03
June 30:  0.13
July 1:  Trace of rain (not measurable)
July 2:  0.01
July 3:  0.81
July 4:  1.41
July 5:  0.69
July 6:  0.69
July 7:  0.30
July 8:  0.19
July 9:  0.89
July 10: 1.05

According to climatologist Pam Knox, the record for days with measurable precipitation for Athens is 17 days set back in December 27, 1990 through January 12, 1991. 

So, how does 2013 stack up with some other wet years of the past decade? Let’s take a look!

2005:

Think back to 2005. What do you remember most about that year weather-wise? If you said Hurricane Katrina, you’re probably in the majority. 2005 was an incredibly active Atlantic Hurricane Season and Georgia was affected by rainfall from some of these storms. Let’s look at a similar table for Athens, Atlanta, and Macon.

2005 Precipitation Summary for KAHN, KATL, KMCN. Source Information: NOAA.

In 2005, Athens had around 91% of its average annual rainfall up until July.  Athens finished with 58.41 inches, at 125% of normal! Atlanta also finished above average, at around 114% of normal. Could 2013 finish the same way? Let’s look at one more year.

2009:

Remember the flood event in September of 2009?

7-Day Rainfall Amounts during the September 2009 Flood. Image Credit: USDA

Here’s how the rainfall panned out that year:

2009 Precipitation Summary. Source Information: NOAA.

The flooding event during 2009 really pushed the rainfall totals pretty high across the region. The 20+ inches in some areas added a substantial amount of rain to the yearly total. Athens finished at 129% of normal, Macon finished at 116%, and Atlanta finished at 140% of normal! Those are astounding numbers, but it begs the question: how will 2013 end up considering the amount of rain we’ve already seen?

Wrapping it All Up:

2013 has been a very wet year so far and comparing it to 2005 and 2009, some of the wettest recent years in the past decade, provides us with a good benchmark comparison even though we’re only a little more than halfway done with the year. So, can we expect more wet weather in the coming months?

Precipitation Outlook for July/August/September. Image Credit: NOAA.

According to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), there will be a 40% chance that we will see above average precipitation throughout the months of July, August, and September. As the tropics heat up, we’ll have to monitor the possibility that those systems may impact the region. Also, if we find ourselves in the same type of the pattern as the last week or so, the rainfall totals will start piling up. A lot of ifs, but it’s important to be aware that the possibility exists for above average precipitation.

Keep the umbrellas, rain-jackets, sand bags, and ark building materials close by!

Note: This post was written on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013. The total rainfall amount for Athens in 2013 as of July 11th is 37.21 inches. This brings Athens to 80% of its average annual precipitation which matches 2012’s entire yearly percentage! Hate to say it, folks, but more rain is on the way.