If it feels like it has been exceptionally wet lately, you would be right.
According to the National Weather Service, the continental US has just experienced the wettest 12 months ever recorded. The organization has been keeping records for 124 years. The US Drought Monitor also said that this is the first time in two years that there has been no area in the continental US that is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions.
The record-breaking wet conditions are a result of last year’s hurricane season and an exceptionally wet autumn and winter. Over the one-year course of May 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019, the continental US saw an average of six inches of precipitation above normal. The 36.2 inches smashed the previous records set in 2015 and 2016.
The wet conditions are a reflection of the overall trend in climate change that is pushing precipitation totals upward. The trends in climate change have meant that records are falling more frequently.
Last year’s El Nino weather pattern was a big factor in the wetter than normal conditions. During this type of weather pattern, eastward-moving waters from the Pacific Ocean are warmer and bring about more moisture to the country.
The massive amounts of rain from Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence battered many areas of the Southeast. California saw more rain and snow as a result of the atmospheric rivers that suck moisture from the Pacific Ocean and deposit it back on land. The state had been in a drought pattern before this year.
The Northeast experienced the unusual weather phenomenon known as the bomb cyclone during the winter and spring months. These instances brought upon large amounts of precipitation to affected areas. The high winter snowfall amounts made themselves known in the form of snowmelt in the spring. Many areas of Kansas and Oklahoma remain flooded due to the rapid snowmelt.