Thursday, January 31, 2013

Moisture Madness in Madison:
Wettest January Day, 3rd Wettest Winter Day in 144-Year Climate History

The record-breaking mid-winter heat earlier this week has also been accompanied by record precipitation. In Madison, Wisconsin, the 1.84" of rain on Tuesday was nearly double the previous daily record for January 29 of 0.98" in 1869. It was also the wettest January day in climate history extending back to 1869, exceeding the January 1, 1892 amount of 1.80". Furthermore, it was the 3rd largest rainfall in any winter month (December-February), exceeded only by 2.54" on December 27, 1904 and 2.19" on December 3, 1990.

In all, National Climatic Data Center preliminary reports show that 10 all-time January daily precipitation records were broken on January 29 and 24 more records were broken on January 30. Besides Madison, other Wisconsin records broken in century-plus climate histories included a cooperative station near Lancaster (2.06" vs. previous 1.60") with 120 years of records and Dodgeville (1.48" vs. 1.26") with 116 years. In Missouri, the Sedalia Water Treatment Plant recorded 3.05" to break the old record of 2.60" on January 19, 1907.

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