Rainfall in Wisconsin is breaking records.
In many different northeastern cities, the amount of rain received is among the highest amount many citizens have ever experienced.
Precipitation totals have been 150% to 200% above the normal conditions, with many cities climbing up to the top 20 wettest years thus far in 2019.
According to the National Weather Service, Green Bay, Wisconsin has received 42.52 inches as of Oct. 24, 2019, which puts it above the original record made last year at 39.21 inches. This is also the first-ever time that Green Bay has had back-to-back yearly precipitation records.
The National Weather Service also described Appleton as having exactly 43 inches of precipitation, only 0.59 inches below the wettest year, 2010. This measurement, however, was taken Oct. 24, 2019 and it will likely be broken in the following months of the year.
In Wausau a total of 42.97 inches was calculated as stated by the National Weather Service, putting this year in second behind 1938 when it rained 48.72 inches.
Oshkosh, however, has been able to avoid these downpours and not break any records to be on the top 20 wettest years even though it may seem like it from the huge puddles by Kolf.
The reason for these record rainfalls is that storms keep following the same pattern over and over again, hitting these cities.
It is difficult to tell if the reason for these patterns forming and the amount of rain is from climate change or not, but research shows that rainfall will increase as the planet warms up.
UW Oshkosh Director of Environmental Studies Jim Feldman said, “there is no question that one of the impacts of climate change is to destabilize long-term climate patterns.”
Feldman added that the amount of rainfall is probably from the planet warming up.
“Climate science doesn’t work in a way that allows you to say, with certainty, that this year’s record rainfall is absolutely the result of climate change,” he said.
Feldman’s claim is supported by the 125-year record that the Midwestern Regional Climate Center has collected; over the past few years we have had a period of more intense rainfall.
“Climate change will bring more frequent, more powerful storms, but you can’t say that any one specific storm was the result, specifically, of climate change,” Feldman said.
The more powerful storms bring more precipitation and whichever city gets the largest, most intense part of the storm, will get the most precipitation.
The effects of high levels of rainfall have been mostly negative, causing flooding in urban areas, which affects farmers by causing runoff.
“The increased rains led to delayed plantings … in the spring because of flooded fields, and it has also delayed the harvest,” Feldman said. “Lots of cattle farmers who depend on laying in silage are having trouble getting stored in the right conditions — it is too wet.”
Feldman said that he hasn’t heard many people make positives out of the immense precipitation that has been occurring but a possible positive of the rainfall in the Midwest is that the Great Lakes’ water levels have risen again after a long period of low water levels.
Luckily, this doesn’t necessarily mean a snowier winter. There isn’t a direct correlation between the rainfall of one season and snowfall in the next season so it is hard to predict, but still be prepared to walk like a penguin.