States with the most rainfall in 2019

Written by:
December 19, 2019
Lorie Shaull // Flickr

States with the most rainfall in 2019

The year 2019 has been the wettest year to date for the United States, with the country logging an average of 32.14 inches of precipitation at the end of November—4.55 inches above its normal average. Not only did more rain than usual fall, but it was more intense, giving Americans a taste of the extreme rainfall events that are becoming increasingly frequent as the planet warms.

Multiple atmospheric forces aligned to create a stormy year, including a recent El Niño. During El Niño episodes, the surface of the central and east-central Pacific Ocean warms, bringing wetter-than-normal weather to the Western, Northern, and Southeastern United States, while keeping the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley drier.

Atmospheric rivers brought further moisture to the western part of the country, too. These “rivers in the sky” carry water vapor from the tropics to the West Coast, making landfall as rain or snow. More than 20 of these atmospheric rivers hit California early this year, bringing enough precipitation to end the state’s drought.

The jet stream, which transports weather systems, and climate change effects also may have helped bring—and keep—rainy weather. Temperature differences between the Arctic and the equator keep the jet stream moving quickly, but the Arctic is warming faster than more southern regions, so the jet stream has a smaller temperature differential to work with. The slower jet stream keeps moisture-filled air over the same places longer.

Globally, a trend of warming temperatures hasn’t discouraged the wet weather. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor and dumps more rain. Climate change probably influenced this rainy year as the Earth’s temperature has crept upward. The United States likely will see more intense rainfall as its climate gets warmer. This year alone, five states set a record for the most rainfall to date, and 2019 ranked among the top 10 wettest for 17 other states.

To determine which states saw the most rainfall in 2019, Stacker consulted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Climate at a Glance: Statewide Time Series, updated as of November 2019. In all, 49 states are ranked by their total precipitation in 2019 from January to October, with the wettest January to October on record also listed. Data was not available for Hawaii. Read on to see how the states handled the year’s rainfall extremes.

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Corey Leopold // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Arizona

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 10.06 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): -0.53 inches (30-year average: 10.59 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #68 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Flagstaff (2019 precipitation: 17.3 inches, #33 wettest year)

Climate change threatens Arizona with more frequent and more intense droughts. The past 20 years have brought below-average precipitation to the state, and the NCEI predicts that spring precipitation will decrease, threatening Arizona's summer water supply. Since 2006, the state has implemented a drought preparedness plan that monitors conditions statewide and develops ways to limit drought vulnerability.

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#48. New Mexico

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 10.86 inches

- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): -1.73 inches (30-year average: 12.59 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #96 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Roswell (2019 precipitation: 9.85 inches, #76 wettest year)

Precipitation proves variable in New Mexico, with fluctuations between dry and wet years and no clear trends in extreme precipitation events from year to year. As with Arizona, the NCEI predicts that spring precipitation likely will decrease as the climate changes, making for drier dry seasons, and droughts likely will become more prevalent.

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Victor Hughes // Unsplash

#47. Nevada

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 11.41 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 3 inches (30-year average: 8.41 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #9 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Ely (2019 precipitation: 12.9 inches, #6 wettest year)

Nevada is the driest of the 50 states but has had one of its wettest years, with 11.41 inches of rain. That wasn't enough to ease a drought that has affected the southern part of the state, in the Colorado River basin, for the past 19 years. In May 2019, Nevada and six other Southwest states signed a drought contingency plan in case water levels in Lake Mead, the reservoir in Nevada and Arizona, drops to 1,075 feet above sea level.

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#46. Utah

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 13.7 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 2.32 inches (30-year average: 11.38 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #21 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Salt Lake City (2019 precipitation: 17.32 inches, #9 wettest year)

In the first half of the year, arid regions of Utah received some of the most rainfall of any spring, and Salt Lake City had three consecutive months with three or more inches of rain, the first time this has happened since record-keeping started in 1874. Climatologists predict that extreme precipitation events will become more common in Utah as global temperatures rise, with snow making way for more rain. This could mean water shortages for the already water-scarce state, as it depends on snowpack for water storage.

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#45. Wyoming

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 16.5 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 2.61 inches (30-year average: 13.89 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #17 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Sheridan (2019 precipitation: 16.47 inches, #12 wettest year)

NCEI predicts that, like Utah, Wyoming will also see a shift from snow to rain over time; coupled with predictions of heavier spring and winter precipitation, Wyoming also may see more flooding. Other states depend on Wyoming for water, as rivers flow from Wyoming into four major river basins, and changes in Wyoming's precipitation will mean downstream effects for other regions.

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Emily Ogden // www.nps.gov

#44. Colorado

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 16.51 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 0.54 inches (30-year average: 15.97 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #49 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Pueblo (2019 precipitation: 12.31 inches, #23 wettest year)

Colorado's rainfall total for the year so far isn't too far above normal, but it hasn't been enough to alleviate drought. The state experienced little drought this summer, which is rare, but by Oct. 5, 27.5% of Colorado was in a drought, and 70% was just a notch above drought conditions. Colorado residents have noticed more frequent droughts, possibly a climate change impact, and the state has issued a water plan to proactively respond to future climate changes.

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#43. Montana

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 19.65 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 3.58 inches (30-year average: 16.07 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #8 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Billings (2019 precipitation: 18.04 inches, #5 wettest year)

Although this was a rainier year for Montana, Climate Central, an organization of journalists and scientists researching and reporting on climate change, predicts Montana is at high risk for drought but isn't preparing much. On the state website, the most recent Drought Response Plan was published in 1995.

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Amanda Slater // Flickr

#42. Idaho

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 20.28 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 1.99 inches (30-year average: 18.29 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #31 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Boise (2019 precipitation: 13.37 inches, #2 wettest year)

Boise and central Idaho experienced so much rain this spring that farmers didn't need to irrigate for weeks. Outside of this anomaly, the state is trending toward less annual precipitation, according to data from 1950 to 2018, though winter and spring may bring more rains than residents are accustomed to for those seasons. During periods of heavy rain, Idaho prevents flooding by cleaning debris from rivers, adjusting the flow of rivers through dams, and running canals at low levels.

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Noah Silliman // Unsplash

#41. North Dakota

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 22.58 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 6.35 inches (30-year average: 16.23 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #2 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Fargo (2019 precipitation: 28.52 inches, #4 wettest year)

North Dakota was split between two extremes this spring: the northern half of the state experienced dry conditions, even drought, while the southern half saw plentiful rain, with Fargo recording its fourth-wettest year. Some farmers had to delay planting because of the rain. Then in September, heavy rains hit much of the state, forcing farmers to delay harvests. Waterway managers adjusted water releases from dams to prevent major floods, and some farmers needed to use grain dryers for their crops.

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MonicaVolpin // Needpix

#40. California

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 22.65 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 6.41 inches (30-year average: 16.24 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #16 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Eureka (2019 precipitation: 34.65 inches, #11 wettest year)

California had a rainier wet season than usual. In March, the entire state was drought free, which hadn't happened since 2011. Climatologists predict that in the coming decades, both droughts and extreme rainfall will become more common, creating about eight " precipitation whiplash" events per century, according to the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers, compared to four per century without the influence of climate change. State lawmakers have passed legislation aimed at reducing emissions to mitigate climate change effects, and Climate Central gives the state an A for drought preparedness and an A- for inland flooding preparedness.

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#39. Texas

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 24.48 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 1.04 inches (30-year average: 23.44 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #53 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Houston (2019 precipitation: 52.15 inches, #19 wettest year)

Although overall the state experienced a pretty typical year for rainfall, in May 2019 south Texas was inundated with almost 600% more rain than typical for that month, and in September, Tropical Storm Imelda gave one town six months of rain in two days, dumping 43.15 inches of rain over southeast Texas. While the Southeast experienced heavy rains, vast swaths of central Texas were in moderate to extreme drought conditions this fall.

The Texas Water Development Board has developed a website in recent years to provide flood resources to residents, including information on water levels in rivers and lakes and road closures. The group’s 2017 water plan details thousands of water management strategies to implement in the face of drought.

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gsloan // Flickr

#38. Oregon

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 25.33 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 2.49 inches (30-year average: 22.84 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #32 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Astoria (2019 precipitation: 38.8 inches, #113 wettest year)

Oregon can expect more rain instead of snow and drier summers as the planet continues to warm, which could lead to more flooding and decreased water storage as mountain snowpack decreases. Flood-prevention strategies include modernizing and piping open canals in the central part of the state to prevent flooding while keeping more water available for wildlife in the middle Deschutes River. In the Northwest, the North Coast Land Conservancy removed a levee on the western bank of the Necanicum River and restored a natural floodplain, which has prevented regular flooding of the nearby highway after rains and benefited local wildlife.

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Sergey Galyonkin // Flickr

#37. Washington

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 25.75 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): -3.69 inches (30-year average: 29.44 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #98 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Olympia (2019 precipitation: 25.94 inches, #71 wettest year)

Washington was an outlier this year as one of the few states trending drier than normal. Like other mountainous states in the west, the warming climate is expected to decrease snowpack and lead to earlier melting of the snowpack, as rain becomes the more dominant form of winter precipitation. Washington’s Department of Ecology cites winter rains and rain-on-snow events as main causes of flooding in Washington and participates in a flood-prevention strategy called the Floodplains by Design initiative that removes ineffective levees and dams, restoring rivers and floodplains to lessen flood risk.

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Tim Umphreys // Unsplash

#36. Nebraska

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 29.23 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 8.05 inches (30-year average: 21.18 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #3 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Omaha (2019 precipitation: 36.78 inches, #12 wettest year)

By March 2019, heavy rainfall on top of snowmelt had caused more than $1.3 billion in damages in Nebraska, with three-quarters of the state's counties declaring an emergency because of the floods. The excessive rain and flooding this year have prompted officials to reevaluate flood control across the state.

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June Admiraal // Unsplash

#35. South Dakota

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 29.37 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 11.44 inches (30-year average: 17.93 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #1 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Sioux Falls (2019 precipitation: 36.98 inches, #1 wettest year)

Sioux Falls and Rapid City by July 2019 topped their annual average rainfall totals. South Dakota endured damaging floods in the spring, and then more flooding occurred after torrential rain in September. South Dakota can expect similar events in the future, as rising temperatures likely will bring increased spring precipitation and higher springtime flood risk.

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#34. Alaska

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 29.9 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): -0.34 inches (30-year average: 30.24 inches)
- Rank (1925-2019): #58 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Juneau (2019 precipitation: 42.99 inches, #51 wettest year)

Alaska is one of the fastest-warming regions of the world, warming by about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1970s, while the rest of the United States has warmed by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The state experienced both ends of the precipitation spectrum this year, from drought to downpours. In July, the state received little precipitation, but at the beginning of August, over four inches of rain fell in a day over some parts of the state, setting rainfall records for several cities.

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Josh Hild // Unsplash

#33. Minnesota

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 32.57 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 8.71 inches (30-year average: 23.86 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #1 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Rochester (2019 precipitation: 51.13 inches, #1 wettest year)

Minnesota has experienced a rising trend in precipitation, and that trend likely will continue, increasing annual precipitation amounts by 15% to 20% by 2050 according to NCEI. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working to protect the state against more heavy rains by supporting local infrastructure projects that incorporate natural floodplains. Traditionally, a roadway directs all stormwater runoff to one channel, but the Department of Natural Resources encourages designers to maintain the natural floodplain, and not confine runoff to one storm drain, for example, to better prevent flooding.

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Patrick Emerson // Flickr

#32. Kansas

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 34.07 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 9.21 inches (30-year average: 24.86 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #5 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Topeka (2019 precipitation: 45.31 inches, #5 wettest year)

Though the fifth-wettest year, 2019 had Kansas' wettest spring on record, which forced farmers to plant later in soggy conditions, leading to predictions of low yields of corn and soybeans. Even in a warmer climate, this level of precipitation will be unusual for Kansas, as NCEI predicts Kansas will have increased winter precipitation, but decreased summer precipitation and droughts of greater intensity.

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Danielle Dolson // Unsplash

#31. South Carolina

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 34.98 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): -6.69 inches (30-year average: 41.67 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #111 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Greenville (2019 precipitation: 40.2 inches, #71 wettest year)

South Carolina was another state that bucked the national trend and logged a drier year. But it still faced intense rain, as Hurricane Dorian dumped seven inches of rain on Charleston early in September. As reported by Climate Central, rainfall data from 1950 onward shows that South Carolina has seen a decreasing trend for heavy downpours. But on the whole, downpours are on the rise in the southeastern United States and the NCEI predicts that extreme precipitation will increase for South Carolina, too.

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#30. Michigan

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 35.49 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 8.94 inches (30-year average: 26.55 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #1 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Grand Rapids (2019 precipitation: 44.75 inches, #2 wettest year)

Climatologists project that Michigan will see more years like 2019, with rainy and stormy springs. For farmers, this means less crop productivity. In central Michigan, annual rainfall amounts have increased by 15% to 25% since 1986, compared to the first 60 years of the 20th century.

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Kourosh Qaffari // Unsplash

#29. Delaware

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 35.95 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): -0.87 inches (30-year average: 36.82 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #71 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Wilmington (2019 precipitation: 42.11 inches, #15 wettest year)

All Delaware residents live in coastal counties, and much of the state lies close to sea level, meaning that both rainstorms and sea level rise pose daunting flood hazards. The state will see more rainfall and more rainfall extremes because of climate change—according to Climate Central, runoff could increase 60% to 80% by 2050, causing more inland floods. To address increasing flood risks, Delaware has improved standards for building and avoiding developing places with a high likelihood of flooding.

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Lorie Shaull // Flickr

#28. Maryland

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 37.12 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 0.79 inches (30-year average: 36.33 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #58 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Salisbury (2019 precipitation: 34.61 inches, #53 wettest year)

In May, Baltimore set a record for the rainiest 365-day period, as Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport logged 76.21 inches of rain. But by the time September came, it had stopped raining over Maryland and a third of the state was in a moderate drought. Over the past 30 years, Maryland has shifted toward a wetter climate, but droughts are also projected to become more common in the summer months as higher temperatures evaporate more soil moisture.

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Inge Maria // Unsplash

#27. Georgia

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 37.72 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): -5.41 inches (30-year average: 43.13 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #101 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Augusta (2019 precipitation: 40.15 inches, #27 wettest year)

Handling heavy rains is becoming a bigger problem for Georgia because recent hurricanes have brought heavy rains and storm surge, flooding coastal communities. Those communities are trying to make infrastructure improvements in the face of more flooding.

Heavy rain is also an issue for Atlanta, particularly for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which sits above streams that feed the Flint River. Storm drains and gutters direct water away from airport tarmacs and into the river, which causes flooding during storms, so the airport is installing porous pavement in some places, and adding plant-filled drainage areas to allow rain to sink into the ground.

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Carol VanHook // Flickr

#26. Iowa

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 38.74 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 9.51 inches (30-year average: 29.23 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #8 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Dubuque (2019 precipitation: 51.36 inches, #2 wettest year)

In June Iowa logged its wettest 12-month period, with help from climate change and warm ocean temperatures, according to state weather experts. Similar to other Midwestern states, heavy spring rains brought floods that devastated homes, businesses, and especially farms. The state recently expanded the Iowa Watersheds Project, which has been working to minimize flood risks, into the Iowa Watershed Approach and has helped Dubuque replace impervious surfaces, increase green space, improve the sewer system, and restore creeks.

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#25. Wisconsin

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 39.73 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 11.71 inches (30-year average: 28.02 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #1 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Green Bay (2019 precipitation: 43.11 inches, #1 wettest year)

Over the past couple years, rainfall and flooding have strained Wisconsin's infrastructure, and the NCEI predicts more and heavier rain will continue to affect the state as emissions exacerbate climate change. To address this, Dane County, which includes the state capital of Madison, is trying to increase stormwater retention capacity and raise money for wetland restoration. About 140 miles to the northeast, Green Bay, which saw its two wettest years on record in 2018 and 2019, has created the position of resilience coordinator, effective 2020, to respond to flooding and improve green infrastructure.

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Virginia Sea Grant // Flickr

#24. Virginia

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 40.08 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 3.29 inches (30-year average: 36.88 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #34 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Norfolk (2019 precipitation: 41.89 inches, #43 wettest year)

Compared with 2018, an extremely rainy year for Virginia, in which one location logged a state record of 94.43 inches of rain, 2019 was unremarkable. Last year, episodes of heavy rain overwhelmed Richmond's sewage system, causing 3.4 billion gallons of raw sewage to spill into the James River along with stormwater over 500 times. Several urban areas in Virginia have combined sewer systems that make this pollution possible, and climatologists predict that wetter years, and more sewage-polluted runoff, could be in Virginia's future. Richmond has been working to update its sewer system and has expanded green space by the river to absorb runoff.

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#23. West Virginia

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 40.66 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 2.46 inches (30-year average: 38.2 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #39 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Elkins (2019 precipitation: 43.53 inches, #25 wettest year)

Thunderstorms struck northeastern West Virginia at the end of June, with the pounding rain flooding roads and causing mudslides. Floodwaters were powerful enough to tear homes from their foundations. Thunderstorms and rain showers are common in the state, especially during the summer, and in response to severe floods three years ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded West Virginia $1 million to improve flood-control measures in Wellsburg, a city in the northern part of the state.

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#22. New York

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 40.68 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 6.93 inches (30-year average: 33.75 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #8 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: New York (Central Park) (2019 precipitation: 44.02 inches, #27 wettest year)

Although Central Park logged the most rain in the state this year, thunderstorms brought destructive downpours upstate, which experienced above-average springtime rainfall. As NCEI found, New York has experienced more heavy rain events in the past 25 years than at the beginning of the 20th century and hotter global temperatures make it likely the trend will continue.

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Don O'Brien // Flickr

#21. Ohio

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 41.15 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 8.39 inches (30-year average: 32.76 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #4 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Cincinnati (2019 precipitation: 46.03 inches, #3 wettest year)

Between June 2018 and May 2019, Ohio's average rainfall totaled 52 inches. The rain saturated the soil and meant farmers planted less than half their soybean and corn crops by June 9; typically, about 90% of each crop is planted by that time. From 2010 to 2019 is now Ohio's wettest decade for spring rain since 1900.

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Oakley Originals // Flickr

#20. Oklahoma

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 41.31 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 11.41 inches (30-year average: 29.9 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #7 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Tulsa (2019 precipitation: 53.91 inches, #3 wettest year)

Oklahoma experienced a 245% increase in rainfall in May, the second-wettest 30-day period on record for the state. Northeastern Oklahoma experienced rainfall totals over a foot above normal. The Arkansas River runs through the region, where a system of levees and dams normally keeps the river in check. But this year the rains were too much, and government officials released water through a major dam at rates rivaling Niagara Falls, causing major floods in cities downstream, including Tulsa.

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ALAN SCHMIERER // Flickr

#19. New Hampshire

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 41.36 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 5.44 inches (30-year average: 35.92 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #19 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Concord (2019 precipitation: 36.27 inches, #18 wettest year)

An intense rainstorm in July ruined roads in several small New Hampshire towns, reminding residents of the destructive power of heavy rains, which are likely to increase in frequency with climate change. But New Hampshire's culverts weren't built with increasingly frequent heavy rain events in mind, so the state and Nature Conservancy teamed up to upgrade an oft-flooded culvert in Newmarket, which they hope will serve as a model for future projects across the state. The problem isn't just how the culverts were built, though; in some places, beaver dams clog the structures, causing severe flooding in various towns a few times a year.

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bill lapp // Flickr

#18. Maine

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 41.68 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 7.11 inches (30-year average: 34.57 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #12 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Bangor (2019 precipitation: 44.85 inches, #3 wettest year)

Maine has already seen more frequent and extreme precipitation, according to NCEI, a pattern projected to continue. Maine's Department of Environmental Protection is updating its stormwater rules based on these predictions and recent trends. The state also has developed a flood-resilience checklist to assist cities and towns in developing flood-resistant infrastructure.

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Paul VanDerWerf // Flickr

#17. Massachusetts

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 42.23 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 5.43 inches (30-year average: 36.8 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #26 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Worcester (2019 precipitation: 45.15 inches, #15 wettest year)

Massachusetts is getting rainier, and state officials know they need to prepare for climate change consequences. This past summer, the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program awarded $12 million to 99 communities to either conduct climate change vulnerability assessments, or to start improvement projects if the communities already had performed assessments. Some rain-related projects include setting up stormwater planters, installing rain gardens, planting trees, and redoing roads using porous pavement.

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michael podger // Unsplash

#16. North Carolina

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 42.82 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 0.19 inches (30-year average: 42.63 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #59 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Asheville (2019 precipitation: 50.39 inches, #8 wettest year)

For North Carolina, 2019 provided somewhat of a reprieve from the downpours of 2018, which brought a statewide average of 68.4 inches of rain. Brevard, in southwestern North Carolina, is a particularly rainy area and prone to flooding, but through its mitigation strategies, it hopes to serve as a model for the rest of the state. To reduce flood risk, the city recently tightened regulations for construction within the floodplain of the nearby French Broad River, preserving absorbent green space and limiting erosion.

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#15. Indiana

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 43.52 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 9.66 inches (30-year average: 33.86 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #3 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Evansville (2019 precipitation: 52.35 inches, #5 wettest year)

Although rainfall was well above average for the year, it wasn't too far from normal compared to recent years in much of Indiana. Heavy spring rains meant farmers only planted 31% of the corn they intended to plant by May 30. Downpours and flooding weren't confined to the early months of 2019, and affected Indiana cities in the summer and fall, too.

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#14. Vermont

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 43.85 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 8.89 inches (30-year average: 34.96 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #7 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Montpelier (2019 precipitation: 44.36 inches, #2 wettest year)

Vermont's average annual precipitation has increased by seven inches since 1950, according to Climate Central, and that number is probably still climbing because of climate change. The rain is saturating and eroding soil, so to mitigate flood hazards, Vermont is trying to ensure that rivers can overflow into floodplains and wetlands.

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Craig Whitehead // Unsplash

#13. Connecticut

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 44.29 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 5.54 inches (30-year average: 38.75 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #28 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Bridgeport (2019 precipitation: 42.69 inches, #12 wettest year)

Typically, precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year in Connecticut, with each month averaging about three to four inches. This year departed from the normal, with July thunderstorms bringing double the average monthly rainfall to some areas, and one October rainstorm adding several inches to parts of the state. To get ahead of increasing amounts of annual average precipitation, the state is working to replace the water treatment systems of six cities that still have combined storm and sanitary sewers; heavy rains overwhelm combined sewers, polluting rivers and Long Island Sound with sewage.

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Blake Bolinger // Flickr

#12. New Jersey

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 44.45 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 6.59 inches (30-year average: 37.86 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #16 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Atlantic City (2019 precipitation: 37 inches, #24 wettest year)

The July thunderstorms that hit Connecticut also swept through New Jersey, pushing over a dozen towns several inches above their average rainfall totals for the month. During rainstorms, including those in July, polluted runoff from the state's impervious surfaces and (sometimes) the 21 combined sewer systems stream into waterways and flood streets. This year the state passed the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act to provide funding for local stormwater utilities, and municipalities are figuring out how to update their combined sewer systems. Hoboken already has taken steps to update its system by installing cisterns and porous pavers that collect water for rain gardens.

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James Cridland // Flickr

#11. Pennsylvania

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 44.53 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 8.84 inches (30-year average: 35.69 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #6 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Allentown (2019 precipitation: 53.67 inches, #3 wettest year)

Across Pennsylvania, rain totals have climbed above average for the year. The rains especially plagued farmers—eroding soil, washing away nutrients, providing breeding grounds for crop diseases, and hampering equipment. State officials want to pass a Restore Pennsylvania initiative to fund flood mitigation and response, improve waterways, implement green infrastructure, and create a disaster survivor trust fund.

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Pixabay

#10. Florida

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 45.4 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): -3.23 inches (30-year average: 48.63 inches)
- Rank (2018-2019): #85 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Miami (2019 precipitation: 59.14 inches, #31 wettest year)

Although there were some periods of heavy rain, especially in July 2019 has not proven especially rainy by Florida standards. As the climate changes, NCEI projects that Florida will see more intense rainfall and that hurricanes will dump more rain when they are near the state, although it's unclear how this will affect average annual precipitation totals. Not only does water surround most of the state, posing flood risks, but canals, rivers and lakes threaten to overflow during storms, too. This situation necessitates having over 2,000 miles of levees and berms in southern Florida alone, pump stations throughout the state, and regular canal cleaning and monitoring.

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Roman Boed // Flickr

#9. Illinois

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 45.43 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 13.05 inches (30-year average: 32.38 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #1 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Peoria (2019 precipitation: 46.54 inches, #3 wettest year)

This year heavy rains heavily affected both rural and urban centers in Illinois. Joining others in the Midwest, Illinois farmers had to delay planting as their fields flooded this spring. In Chicago, heavy rains caused the combined sewer system to overflow in April and basements flooded; in the past, studies have shown that this basement flooding commonly happens in largely low-income, African American neighborhoods.

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Jef Nickerson // Flickr

#8. Rhode Island

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 46.01 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 9.17 inches (30-year average: 36.84 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #14 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Providence (2019 precipitation: 41.15 inches, #24 wettest year)

Over the past decade, Rhode Island has seen more extreme rain events, and yearly average rainfall totals have been above long-term averages, according to NCEI data. To prepare for more heavy rain and rising sea levels, some Rhode Island towns and cities have elevated electrical equipment and pumps to protect them from floodwaters, while others plan to repair or remove dams, elevate roads, or restore marshland by the coast.

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Olin Gilbert // Flickr

#7. Alabama

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 46.44 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 0.19 inches (30-year average: 46.25 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #63 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Mobile (2019 precipitation: 57.59 inches, #37 wettest year)

While rainfall totals were close to the 30-year average, the rain caused significant flooding throughout the state this year. In February, downpours inundated northern Alabama, challenging the Tennessee Valley Authority to control flooding along the Tennessee River, although it still rose to over 10 feet above flood stage in some places. Later in the year, remnants of Hurricane Barry dumped so much rain on coastal Alabama that it caused sewage overflows, and an episode of torrential rain in August spawned flash floods that overwhelmed Birmingham storm drains.

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Pixabay

#6. Missouri

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 49.39 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 14.12 inches (30-year average: 35.27 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #4 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Kansas City (2019 precipitation: 50.56 inches, #2 wettest year)

Relentless rain combined with snowmelt this past spring to increase river flow rates and cause the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to breach their levees in several locations, with floodwaters taking over some towns or encroaching on iconic landmarks, like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Besides delaying or preventing planting, the rains and floods forced thousands of state residents to evacuate their homes.

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Bruce Selvitelle // Flickr

#5. Kentucky

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 50.63 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 11.32 inches (30-year average: 39.31 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #7 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Paducah (2019 precipitation: 62.62 inches, #2 wettest year)

Kentucky went from too much rain early in the year to nearly zero rain in September. By October, all Kentucky's counties issued drought declarations. This year modeled what climate scientists predict for the state in the years ahead: more extreme weather. Kentucky cities are largely unprepared for the increased risks of flooding from extreme rains, as many of the state's smaller rivers and streams lack infrastructure by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And while Louisville has an extensive flood protection system, that system is about 50 years out of date.

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Tennessee

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 55.84 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 13.2 inches (30-year average: 42.64 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #3 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Memphis (2019 precipitation: 65.23 inches, #2 wettest year)

When it rains, the Tennessee Valley Authority alters reservoir water levels in, and flow rates through, dams to hold back floodwaters in eastern Tennessee. Since Tennessee is experiencing more floods, cities like Nashville are working to update stormwater infrastructure and better understand which areas are flood-prone.

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Trina Barnes // Shutterstock

#3. Louisiana

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 57.39 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 10.31 inches (30-year average: 47.08 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #13 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: New Orleans (2019 precipitation: 59.43 inches, #22 wettest year)

On average, Louisiana is seeing shorter rainfall events, but these are more intense, dumping more water in less time. Many Louisiana cities rely on pumps to keep roads clear of floodwaters, but the pumps aren't equipped to deal with heavy downpours. Rising seas that continue to erode the Louisiana coastline and more intense rains will test the state's post-Hurricane Katrina levee system, which was updated in a massive project that ended in 2018.

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joesayhello // Shutterstock

#2. Arkansas

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 58.45 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 17.51 inches (30-year average: 40.94 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #4 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Fort Smith (2019 precipitation: 61.76 inches, #1 wettest year)

The exceptional rain this year contributed to major flooding in the spring and summer. In late May, Arkansas felt the effects of rains farther upstream in other states, which, on top of rain over the state itself, caused water to overflow from the Arkansas River, even beyond the floodplain. About two months later, tropical storm Barry dumped over 16 inches of rain over a west Arkansas city, while delivering at least two inches to about half the state.

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IVASHstudio // Shutterstock

#1. Mississippi

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Oct.): 60.02 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 14.4 inches (30-year average: 45.62 inches)
- Rank (1895-2019): #4 wettest year
- City with the most rainfall: Tupelo (2019 precipitation: 65.23 inches, #2 wettest year)

Mississippi experienced deluges similar to other states in the Midwest earlier this year, and rainwater pooled in the Mississippi Delta, flooding about 500,000 acres north of Vicksburg. More rain and more downpours threaten Mississippi as global surface and ocean temperatures rise.

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