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December 3, 2009

BWI rain tally for 2009 nears 50 inches

Rainbow/Ocean City/Novak 

Paul M. Novak Jr., of Baltimore, sent me this beautiful photo he shot over the weekend. He said:

"I was in Ocean City this weekend and caught and unexpected shot of a rainbow over the Ocean. It was a very blustery day, and just a real brief shower had passed through the area. I looked out of the hotel and here is what I managed to capture !"

Also in my mail this morning was this sort-of-related note, from Kevin Manning:

"As we approach 50" of rain for the year, can you inform us on the historical records for yearly rainfall? We are nearly 10" above the long-term average, so far this year."

The precipitation total for the year at BWI-Marshall Airport has nearly topped 49 inches. The long-term average for the airport for an entire year is 41.94 inches. So, after a bit more than 11 months, we are already nearly 7 inches above the yearly average. With just average precipitation in December we should have a 10-inch surplus for the year.

(Year-to-date for Seattle, Wash.: 35.69 inches. That city's reputation for rain is misunderstood. While they have many gray, damp days, the accumulations are generally small, summers are dry, and annual totals are modest.)

But remember that as wet as it's been in Baltimore since April, we began the year very dry, and ended March in drought. So, we are still a long way from record territory, and we'll need a deluge in December just to break into the top five wettest years on record (since 1871) for Baltimore:

2003:  62.66 inches

1889:  62.35 inches

1979:  58.98 inches

1996:  58.31 inches

1952:  56.57 inches

Posted by Frank Roylance at 8:03 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: By the numbers


Good Morning Sir,
Would you happen to know how many days it has rained this year thus far. I certainly would love to know?

Thank you,

FR: I don't, but when the NWS computers come back up, I will try to find out.

At least three of these five top-ten years were assisted by 21+-inch snowfalls. I don't know about snowfalls in 1952 or 1889. For this year, one-quarter in the dry and with no major snow, to broach top-five company shows just what a wet ride it's been for the last nine months!

At least three of these five top-ten years were assisted by 21+-inch snowfalls. I don't know about snowfalls in 1952 or 1889. For this year, one-quarter in the dry and with no major snow, to broach top-five company shows just what a wet ride it's been for the last nine months!

Posted by: OnAvgABadStat | December 3, 2009 10:23 AM

Yes, but remember that it takes about 10-11" of snow to produce just 1" or rain.

It is amazing how variable precipitation totals can be. At my house in Catonsville, I have recorded a total of 36.91 inches of precip so far this year. We live about 9 miles as the crow flies from BWI. I recall several instances in the late spring and summer where BWI recorded significantly more rain than I recorded did during the same storm. Very interesting...

FR: Showers and summer storms can be very localized. We still haven't topped 40 inches here at The Sun. That's why the NWS likes to pick an "official" station, like BWI, and stick with it. It minimizes the variables and creates a consistent, long-term record.

Before we say we have a drought in March 2010 the TV weather reporters should remember that we started the year 10" on the plus side and soggy!

FR: It will take some doing to get to drought conditions from where we are now. The dry weather that led to the brief drought declaration last March began the previous fall. But the definition of a drought is based on rainfall, soil moisture, water tables, plant health and other measurements. When all those numbers qualify as a drought, it's a drought, regardless of how big a surplus we may have had in the past.

I just hope that we continue to get moist precip in the winter, preferably in the form of a couple BIG snowfalls! I'm ready for 2 feet of snow at one time during the first two months of 2010!

Can'y we talk about something other than weather? After all we can't change that. What we can change is the condition of the bay, and the bo-garding of it's natural resourses, crabs, clams, and rock by so-called watermen. If I made my living from the bay, I sure would'nt end it by being a hog of it's resourses.

FR: Um, it's a weather blog. That's what we talk about here. Thanks.

Forks Washington has about 3 times the annual rain as Seattle. It sits on the coast, rather than in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains as Seattle does.

does anyone know the total # of days it rained? i wanted to know the percentage

FR: Finally got a chance to gather those numbers: Of the 334 days in 2009 through November, BWI recorded measurable rain (at least 0.01 inch) on 121 days. That's 36.2 percent. We've had one day of measurable rain in December, but the percentage has not changed. The driest month was February, with just 5 days with measurable rain. The wettest was May, with 18 days of rain.

Frank, Can anyone confirm what that large, yellow, round object that appeared in the sky today really was?? It seems to have come from the east and gave off heat and light....I haven't seen anything like it in these parts in what seems like at least a year :)

MrEarl --- I am with you on the TV / Newspaper weather reporters - but you can BET, as I have pointed out here before unfortunately, that the 1st time we go more than 10 days without rain in March or April, you will hear the "howls" from all of them about how dry it is and how desparate we are for rainfall.........happens EVERY year and it will again this year - without a doubt. Beats the heck out of me too for seems like 7 out of the past 11 years we've been above normal precip wise - go figure...........Thanks and cheers everyone.

FR: Let's see. Back in July, we went 13 days without any rain. I posted an item noting the dry weather and the fact that lots of lawns were turning brown after a very wet spring, something plenty of homeowners were noticing. But there is no mention of drought. In fact, the post notes that moisture remained normal statewide, and that showers were on the way. But I got a goose from Rich anyway.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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