Thanks to an especially wet Fourth of July, rain has remained a topic of conversation in the Atlanta area, where we don't seem to be getting a break. But there's always a question of perception vs. truth when it comes to weather. Has it really rained as much as it has seemed here?
In the case of 2013 weather, the truth is this: It has rained in near record volumes in the metro Atlanta area, according to the National Weather Service. We had more rain through July 8 this year than we had in all of 2012. Same is true for all of 2011.
Let's look at the stats, courtesy of Keith Stellman, meteorologist in charge at the Peachtree City-based weather service. Atlanta is on pace to have its wettest year ever. These records, by the way, extend back to 1879. Through July 8, the official site at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport recorded 41.28 inches of rain. At that pace, Atlanta would reach 79.72 inches by December 31, eclipsing the highest marks to date -- 71.18 in 1948 and 69.43 in 2009. The 2009 year was pushed by a "once in 500 years flood" that crippled the city for a week in September.
But of course, that's only pace and assumes rain at the same frequency and volume, which may be unlikely. Because the pace and volume have indeed been extraordinary.
"If we simply get average rainfall the remainder of the year and no more rain in July, we will get into the top 10 wettest years on record with 61 inches of rain," said Stellman. In addition, there are only seven years on record that have had more rain through July than we have had in Atlanta, and that's with 2013 records only through July 8.
As far as frequency, Stellman said Atlanta has seen 72 days of rain through July 8, roughly once every 2.6 days -- that's high, but not as astounding as the volume. Since 1879, 17 years have had rain on 70 or more days through June 30.Mike Benzie has been a reporter and editor for several major news organizations in the Southeast, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Greenville News, and the Asheville Citizen-Times.
- Nature & Environment