Thursday, August 28, 2014
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Rain: Sign of the times?

Three of the top 5 wettest Junes have occurred since 2003.

Rain: Sign of the times?

The official precipitation measurements for Philadelphia constitute one of the nation's longest continuous set of records, dating to the origins of the country's national weather network.

The rainfall tallies began on Jan. 1, 1872, and in June of that year, 4.79 inches was measured at the official station at 5th and Chestnut Streets.

Given the length of the record, what has occurred in three Junes since 2003 is quite remarkable.

As we've reported, this June is the second-wettest in the period of record. At 8.81 inches, it is within a hefty shower or two of the 10.06 inches of June 1938.

No. 3 on the June list would be 2003, 8.08, and 2006 comes in at No. 5, 7.95.

Based on the forecast, anyone who wants June 1938 to retain the title should be sweating bullets. The official forecast calls for showers from here to July 4th, with up to 1.5 inches by week's end.

The pattern and the forecasts suggests that Philly eventually could threaten another record, this one for consecutive days of precipitation.

With the 0.01 recorded officially yesterday, the streak stands at three, and showers are in the outlook for the next seven days. The record for consecutive days with measurable rain is 12, set in September 1889,

While three Junes in Philly hardly qualify as indisputable evidence, various studies have addressed a link between worldwide warming and heavier precipitation.

The National Climate Data Center noted in a study that while the trend hasn't been linear worldwide, it was evident in the United States in the 20th Century. Here's a link to a recent report discussing rising temperatures and the potential for heavier precipitation.

Whether the trend of rainy Junes will continue is unclear. What is more certain is that the rains of June 2013 will continue.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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