Fayette County

2011 is already 8th-wettest year on record

Two strong storms hit part of Lexington on July 22, causing streets to flood in some neighborhoods, including Chevy Chase.
Two strong storms hit part of Lexington on July 22, causing streets to flood in some neighborhoods, including Chevy Chase.

With more than a month remaining in 2011, Lexington is having the eighth-wettest year on record (tied with 1950), with 58.67 inches of precipitation as of Friday.

Central Kentucky probably can expect another inch or two of rain as storms move through the area between late Saturday and Tuesday, meteorologist Chris Bailey said. After that, temperatures will drop, and precipitation for the rest of the year is likely to come in the form of snow or a wintry mix, which holds less moisture than rain, Bailey said.

"If there's anything good about this, it's that we've balanced out last year's drought conditions," Bailey said. "If we finished last year down about 10 inches, we're finishing up about 15 inches or more this year."

Statewide, heavy rains starting in February led to springtime flooding in Western Kentucky communities along the Green, Cumberland and Ohio rivers.

Flooding was not worse, especially in Central Kentucky, because the rain tended to be spread over a longer period rather than falling all at once, faster than waterways could absorb it, Bailey said.

The wettest year for Lexington was 1935, at 65.76 inches. That's roughly twice what soggy Seattle averages in a year.

It's not your imagination if it seems like we frequently set records now.

Including 2011, four of the 10 wettest years on record for Lexington will have come in the last 15 years.

So far, 2011 has brought us the seventh-wettest autumn (that could climb in coming weeks), the second-wettest spring and the wettest April ever.

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