Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Wettest of times

The wettest calendar year, and 12-month period on record.

Wettest of times

The government honors the human convention of the calendar in keeping track of records -- daily highs and lows, monthly average temperatures, etc.

While the calendar certainly is a convenient overlay, but it is by no means a perfect device for the ordering of records.

We mention this because we have noted that 2011 already has become the wettest calendar year in Philadelphia in the period of record, the total of rain and melted snow and ice standing at 59.96 inches.

Loyal reader Louis Hansell pleaded for relief from calendar tyranny and wanted to know if this also happened to be the wettest 365-day period.

So we looked at the precipitation numbers, which begin on April 1, 1873, tracking them through Nov. 30, 2011.

The answer is yes. The total for the 365 days that ended on Nov. 30 was 63.2 inches. That nudged out the period ending on March 31, 2010,  

Other members of the 365-day 5-footer club were the periods ending Oct. 1, 1933, 61.41; May 31, 1912, 60.54; May 10, 1939, 60.25, and May 21, 1873, 60.19.

And, yes, we realize that even the 365-day standard is a human convention.

Tony Wood 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.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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