Hydrological year – Average Precipitation across the Country

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A hydrological year, or water year, runs from October 1st of one year, to September 30th of the following. It’s how precipitation is measured when a climate says they receive X amount of precipitation annually. As an example, Seattle receives an average of 37.49 inches of precipitation annually. However, that’s obviously an average.

With the West coast of the US getting massive rain storms these past few months, and the snowstorms that have pounded the East coast, I thought it’d be interesting to compare some of the hydrological years across the country so far.

The Wet West Coast

Seattle is a soggy city this year! Between October 1, 2016 and April 23, the area has had 44.67″ of rain dumped on it.

Portland, Oregon has already surpassed their average rainfall for the entire year by several inches – and it’s not even May!

After a long drought, Californians are reaping the benefits of their rain dances! San Francisco typically averages a little less than 22 inches of rain in a non-drought year. This year to date? There’s been 35 inches of rainfall. Phew! San Diego isn’t exactly in the same situation, receiving a mere 6.9 inches of rain out of their average 9.

Overall, the Western states are receiving buckets more than they’re used to. The Oroville Dam situation illustrates how ill-prepared we can be when a flood is what we least expect.

The East Coast Needs some Waders

Chicago’s rainiest season falls in the summer, and they average about 38 inches per year. However, with the storms this winter, the area is at 20.27 inches as of April 23. What about some of the other major cities?

New York City is used to some pretty decent snowstorms. But January’s storm has been titled the city’s Biggest Snow Storm on Record. Just as recently as yesterday, the bustling city had nearly an inch of rain.

Not Everyone is Buying Galoshes

Not all areas are in the same boat though. Florida, for instance, receives a lot more rain later in the year, so their hydrological year is looking pretty average at this point. Miami has received 20.8 inches of water so far, while the average for the entire year is close to 60 inches of precipitation. Tampa is staying relatively dry with only 9 inches this far.

While much of the country isn’t looking too damp, let’s re-visit this in October!

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