Saturday's storms help make summer of 2013 the third-wettest on record

kward1@herald-leader.comAugust 31, 2013 

Cars blasted through high water on East Main Street near Forest Avenue on Aug. 19, during one the rainstorms that helped make this summer one of the city's wettest on record.

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The thunderstorms that pounded Lexington on Saturday helped boost the city to one of its wettest summers on record.

Lexington got 1.86 inches of rain by 8 p.m. as police responded to calls about high water on roads, and more rain fell later. The rainfall total for the summer passed 21.55 inches, said WKYT Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey.

That makes this the third-wettest summer on record for Lexington. In terms of their record-keeping, meteorologists consider a summer to be the months of June, July and August.

The summer of 1992, when Lexington got 22.74 inches of rain, is the second-wettest summer on record. The wettest summer was in 1974, when Lexington got 23.21 inches.

Lexington gets an average of 12.34 inches in a summer.

"We're going to be roughly 10 inches above normal," Bailey said.

Bailey said Saturday was the wettest Aug. 31 on record for Lexington. The previous record was set in 1888, when Lexington got 1.72 inches of rain.

Bailey said this summer's mild, wet weather can be attributed to the jet stream, which normally hangs around the U.S.-Canadian border.

"The jet stream displaced much farther south this summer," he said. "You had more wind energy and more of a temperature gradient nearby."

Bailey said that might also make for a harder winter.

While it's a "super-duper early call," Bailey said that in examining historical records, summers in which temperatures and rainfall were similar to 2013's have been "pretty good" for producing lots of cold and snow.

So far this year, Lexington has gotten about 43.43 inches of precipitation, which Bailey said puts us nearly a foot above normal, since Lexington typically has 31.67 inches by the end of August.

At this time last year, Lexington had gotten 27.61 inches of precipitation.

It was also much hotter last year.

Lexington had 40 days last summer when the temperature topped 90 degrees, and seven of those were 100-degree days.

This summer, Lexington has had, at most, 13 days when the temperature hit 90.

The average is about 20 90-degree days in a summer.

Bailey said the remainder of the holiday weekend will feature "more of the same."

Sunday and Monday will bring "several more clusters of storms," with temperatures in the upper 80s and high humidity.

Tuesday, he said, should be better, with highs in the mid-70s, low humidity and lots of sunshine.

Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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