Sunday, May 24, 2015

Drought watch: Why we're spoiled

Usually, rainfall around here is about as common as a traffic jam.

Drought watch: Why we're spoiled

Philadelphia and the rest of the Washington-Boston megapolis is situated in a rich precipitation corridor where rainfall has a reliability record that Amtrak and Septa might envy.

In fact, the Northeast is located in the world's most reliable precipitation zone, according to meteorologist Richard A. Keen, author of Skywatch East, an excellent weather primer, by the way.

Just how reliable? We took a look at the Philadelphia record.

Through July, precipitation had been monitored officially in Philadelphia on 50,608 days since record-keeping began in 1872.

Measureable precipitation was recorded on 16,780 of them, or exactly 33 percent. In addition, a "trace" was detected on 6,466 other days.

Thus it is not surpising that a rain-less run -- and this one is in day 17 in Philadelphia -- would get folks' attention.

We still have a long way to go to challenge the record, however. No rain was measured from Oct. 11, 1874 to Nov. 8, 1874,  a total of 29 days.

That year, the annual total, 46.25, was well above the long-term average. It pays to be near an ocean.



Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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