Columbus Drowning in Rain





If it seems like the last few years have been particularly wet, you’d be right. Columbus, other Ohio cities and many areas in the Midwest have been seeing record rainfall of late. Yesterday alone, June 19th, Columbus had a daily record 2.65″ of rain, flooding many streets across Franklin County, including I-71 in at least 2 places. Is it indicative of a fluke pattern or a local result of climate change? Let’s look at the numbers and trends more closely.

First of all, let’s look at the 20 wettest years on record through June 19th.
1. 1882: 32.50″
2. 1890: 30.12″
3. 2019: 27.08″
4. 1964: 25.78″
5. 2011: 25.68″
6. 1893: 25.50″
7. 2004: 25.49″
8. 1996: 24.94″
9. 1949: 24.52″
10. 1945: 24.49″
11. 1913: 24.45″
12. 1883: 24.18″
13. 2018: 23.98″
14. 2008: 23.62″
15. 1950: 23.60″
16. 1990: 23.56″
17. 1981: 23.49″
18. 1898: 22.94″
19. 1927: 22.92″
20. 1937: 22.69″

So far, 2019 has had the 3rd highest rain total to date since 1879.

Here are the top 20 wettest full years.
1. 2018: 55.18″
2. 2011: 54.96″
3. 1990: 53.16″
4. 1882: 51.30″
5. 1890: 50.73″
6. 2004: 49.27″
7. 2003: 49.03″
8. 1883: 48.88″
9. 1881: 46.99″
10. 2017: 46.61″
11. 1973: 46.25″
12. 1948: 45.69″
13. 1972: 45.60″
14. 1996: 45.56″
15. 2008: 45.44″
16. 1995: 45.30″
17. 2015: 45.00″
18. 1950: 44.96″
19. 1880: 44.68″
20. 1949: 44.47″

4 years this decade have been among the top 20 wettest years since 1879. Only the 1880’s can match that record, though both the 2000s and 2010s have been wetter, as shown below.


The chart shows that the 2000s were the wettest decade on record, with the 2010s looking to surpass even that total with more than 6 months left to go in 2019. Furthermore, the trend line is clearly up, meaning that Columbus has been getting gradually wetter over the last 140 years, indicating that something else is going on rather than just a random wet period.
Columbus isn’t the only place in the Midwest seeing high levels of rain. There has been widespread, damaging flooding going on across many states, especially this year. Check out some of the articles on this below:
Cincinnati: https://www.journal-news.com/news/local/butler-county-struggling-with-near-record-rainfall-this-unbelievable/270FdqJqMzImu7YSBtYTHM/
Lake Michigan: https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/lake-michigan-water-levels-on-pace-to-reach-record-high-in-june-skirt-records-into-fall/ar-AAD1BWz
Iowa: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/06/14/iowa-climate-change-agriculture-flood-rain-farming-environment-weather-precipitation-temperature/1433128001/
Pennsylvania: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/06/for-pa-farmers-year-of-record-rain-often-a-big-nuisance.html
West Virginia: https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/huntington-charleston-on-pace-to-break-annual-rainfall-average/article_1fd2b7a8-db64-5074-b017-ab700ff243ec.html
Midwest Farming: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-14/it-s-not-just-corn-u-s-farmers-may-forgo-near-record-soy-acres?srnd=premium
Mississippi River: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/mississippi-floodings-impact-freight-economy-142712910.html

Ironically, few individual months in recent years have featured record precipitation. In the last 10 years, only 1 month- July 2017- appears in the top 25 wettest months. It’s just been more of a constant wet pattern, where most months now have above to well-above normal precipitation.
While climate change can’t account for individual events or specific record rainfalls, the patterns are obvious enough to show that the climate in Columbus and in many other parts of the country is changing over time. This means that we should come to expect more of this in the years to come.

Ohio Has Very Wet 2018





If your yard has been a swampy no man’s land all year, there’s a reason for it. 2018 was one of the wettest years ever across the state. In some cities, almost every month featured above normal precipitation. Let’s take a look across the state to see how places fared in this extraordinarily soggy period.

Here were the final 2018 totals in major Ohio cities and how they rank since their records began.
Cincinnati: 55.90″ 3rd wettest since 1871.
Columbus: 55.18″ 1st wettest since 1878.
Cleveland: 51.47″ 4th wettest since 1871.
Youngstown: 50.97″ 2nd wettest since 1896.
Dayton: 48.99″ 10th wettest since 1893.
Akron: 48.46″ 5th wettest since 1896.
Toledo: 38.01″ 22nd wettest since 1871.

In big cities in Ohio, only Toledo managed to avoid having a top 10 wettest year. Columbus had its wettest on record, beating the previous record of 54.96″ set just a few years ago in 2011.

Locally in the Columbus metro, here were some other totals.
Newark: 56.01″
Marysville: 51.12″
Lancaster: 50.51″
Circleville: 46.66″
OSU Campus: 46.66″

Biggest Individual Precipitation Day and Rank
Cincinnati: 5.02″ on 8/16/2018, 2nd highest since 1871.
Youngstown: 3.50″ on 9/9/2018, 11th highest since 1896.
Dayton: 2.88″ on 4/3/2018, 24th highest since 1893.
Akron: 2.50″ on 9/9/2018, unranked.
Cleveland: 2.12″ on 11/1/2018, unranked.
Columbus: 2.06″ on 4/15/2018, unranked.
Toledo: 1.62″ on 3/1/2018, unranked.

Cincinnati had 2 days in the top 10, but most other cities had just constant rain rather than exceptionally high individual totals.

Total 2018 Measurable Precipitation Days and Rank
Youngstown: 191 1st most since 1896.
Akron: 180 1st most since 1896.
Cleveland: 177 8th most since 1871.
Columbus: 162 6th most since 1878.
Cincinnati: 151 7th most since 1871.
Dayton: 148 10th most since 1893.
Toledo: 142 16th most since 1871.

3 cities saw more than half their days with measurable precipitation. Columbus came in at just under 50%. This also had the unfortunate result of making most of the year feel unusually gloomy. Traditionally sunny months in the summer and fall were much cloudier than normal.

Total 2018 1″+ Precipitation Days and Rank
Columbus: 15 1st most since 1878.
Cleveland: 13 2nd most since 1871.
Cincinnati: 12 7th most since 1871.
Dayton: 11 6th most since 1893.
Akron: 10 5th most since 1896.
Toledo: 7 7th most since 1871.
Youngstown: 5 9th most since 1896.

Columbus had the most 1″ days of any year on record, and even beat every other major Ohio city.

Wettest 2018 Months
Cincinnati: 8.21″ in August
Youngstown: 7.91″ in September
Akron: 7.26″ in September
Dayton: 6.72″ in September
Columbus: 6.71″ in June
Cleveland: 6.68″ in July
Toledo: 5.91″ in May

No cities saw any of their months be even close to the wettest ever. There were not really any events with heavy flooding, either, except in February in Cincinnati, when the Ohio River reached the highest since the 1997 flood. There was also some scattered flooding from some tropical system remnants that passed through, particularly in September, but for the most part, it was just constantly wet from beginning to end in most places.

Flooding in Cincinnati in February, 2018.

One might ask if 2018 was merely a blip or part of a long-term trend in the state. Climate scientists have actually looked at this, and the state has indeed been getting both warmer and wetter over the last century or so, but the pace of both the warming and the increase in precipitation has been much faster since the 1970s. Many of the Ohio’s wettest years on record have occurred since 1990.




The Week in Review #2





So last week, the FBI finally released the full crime numbers for 2017 for all cities. How did Columbus fare? Well, it was a decidedly mixed bag. Total murders were their highest ever, at 143, but the rate fell quite short of the record set back in 1991. So far for 2018, murder is behind 2017’s rate by about 22%, so it’s a good improvement, but still not even close to where it should be.

Other violent crime figures 2016 to 2017
-Rape continued its multi-year rise in the city, reaching 919 incidents. This was a 6% increase over 2016.
-Assaults were up 4% over 2016, but in the context of still being one of the lowest totals in the past 30 years.
-Robberies were down almost 8.5% over 2016.
-Despite the rises in most types of violent crime, the drop in robberies meant overall violent crime dropped by about 0.5%.
Property crime figures 2016 to 2017
-Burglaries were down more than 8%.
-Larceny thefts were down about 2.9%
-Motor vehicle thefts were up 17.6%, so not a good trend, but still less than half the rate it was 15-20 years ago.
-Overall property crime was down about 2% versus 2016.

And if you think this year’s been particularly wet, you are right! Through October 1st, Columbus is having its 3rd wettest year on record. Only 1882 and 1890 are ahead of 2018 at this point, and by barely 1″. 2018 at this point is running almost 14″ above normal.
Top 10 Wettest Years Through October 1st
1. 1882: 44.55″
2. 1890: 43.56″
3. 2018: 43.31″
4. 1979: 42.17″
5. 2003: 41.58″
6. 2011: 41.12″
7. 1990: 39.10″
8. 1949: 38.54″
9. 2004: 38.46″
10. 1996: 37.46″
It is surprising how many recent years are on this list. Still with 3 months to go, the pattern could break, but it’s very unlikely that 2018 doesn’t end up in the top 10. Here are the top 10 wettest full years.
1. 2011: 54.96″
2. 1990: 53.16″
3. 1882: 51.30″
4. 1890: 50.73″
5. 2004: 49.27″
6. 1979: 49.17″
7. 2003: 49.03″
8. 1883: 48.88″
9. 1881: 46.99″
10. 2017: 46.61″

I guess it could always be worse.




Winter 2017-2018




Wind and heavy snow on the evening of January 12, 2018.

The winter of 2017-2018 featured some wild swings, from a very cold late December-early January to one of the warmest Februaries of all time. Let’s take a closer look at this volatile season, specifically December to February.

December 2017
Average High: 38.6 36th Coldest
Average Low: 23.7 33rd Coldest
Mean: 31.2 37th Coldest
Coldest High: 17 on 12/27/17
Coldest Low: 2 on 12/31/17
Warmest High: 60 on 12/4/17
Warmest Low: 47 on 12/22/17
32 or Below Highs: 10 11th Highest
32 or Below Lows: 27 5th Highest
Total Precipitation: 1.76″ 28th Driest
Total Snowfall: 8.1″ 23rd Snowiest
Average Snow Depth: 0.3″ 4th Lowest
Largest Daily Precipitation: 0.72″ on 12/23/17 31st Largest
Largest Daily Snowfall: 2.1″ on 12/30/17 32nd Largest
Highest Snow Depth: 3″ on 12/30-12/31/17 4th Lowest
Precipitation Days: 20 8th Highest
Snowfall Days: 15 8th Highest

December Records
Record High Minimum: 47 on 12/22/17. Tied for #1 Warmest Low for December 22nd. Tied with 2015.

January 2018
Average High: 35.4 39th Coldest
Average Low: 19.3 39th Coldest
Mean: 27.3 39th Coldest
Coldest High: 10 on 1/2/18
Coldest Low: -4 on 1/2/18
Warmest High: 60 on 1/11 and 1/22/18
Warmest Low: 52 on 1/11/18
32 or Below Highs: 14 11th Highest
32 or Below Lows: 26 6th Highest
Total Precipitation: 2.39″ 56th Driest
Total Snowfall: 10.5″ 38th Snowiest
Average Snow Depth: 1.4″ 15th Lowest
Largest Daily Precipitation: 0.66″ on 1/12/18 35th Lowest
Largest Daily Snowfall: 3.5″ on 1/12/18 29th Highest
Highest Snow Depth: 5″ on 1/16-1/17/18 6th Lowest
Precipitation Days: 26 4th Highest
Snowfall Days: 19 6th Highest

January Records
Record Low Maximum: 10 on 1/2/2018. Coldest High for January 2nd, beating the old record of 11, set in 1928.

February 2018
Average High: 47.3 7th Warmest
Average Low: 30.3 10th Warmest
Mean: 38.8 7th Warmest
Coldest High: 22 on 2/2/18
Coldest Low: 10 on 2/5/18
Warmest High: 77 on 2/20/18
Warmest Low: 60 on 2/20/18
32 or Below Highs: 5 6th Lowest
32 or Below Lows: 17 5th Lowest
Total Precipitation: 5.25″ 7th Highest
Total Snowfall: 6.0″ 43rd Highest
Largest Daily Precipitation: 1.23″ on 2/24/18 20th Highest
Largest Daily Snowfall: 4.4″ on 2/7/18. 17th Highest
Highest Snow Depth: 4″ on 2/7/18. 5th Lowest
Precipitation Days: 20 7th Highest
Snowfall Days: 10 13th Highest

February Records
Record Daily Snowfall: 4.4″ on 2/7/2018. Most snowfall for February 7th, beating the old record of 3.6″ set in 1895.
Record High Minimum: 55 on 2/15/2018. Warmest Low for February 15th, beating the old record of 53 set in 1954.
Record High Maximum: 77 on 2/20/2018. Warmest High for February 20th, beating the old record of 68 set in 1891 and 2016.
Record High Minimum: 60 on 2/20/2018. Warmest Low for February 20th, beating the old record of 49 set in 1930.

Winter (DJF only) 2017-2018
Average High: 40.4 28th Warmest
Average Low: 24.4 38th Warmest
Mean: 32.4 33rd Warmest
32 or Below Highs: 29 21st Highest
32 or Below Lows: 70 18th Lowest
Precipitation: 9.40″ 31st Wettest
Snowfall: 24.6″ 36th Snowiest
Average Snow Depth: 0.7″ 17th Highest (since 1948)

So overall, the winter was definitely warmer than normal, but not record-breaking, even with the extremely warm February. It was also wetter and snowier than normal as well.

Columbus’ Christmas Day Climatology




Normals 1981-2010
High: 38
Low: 25
Mean: 31.5
Precipitation: 0.10″
Snowfall: 0.2″

1878-2016 Averages
High: 36
Low: 24
Mean: 30
Precipitation: 0.11″
Snowfall: 0.1″

Top 10 Coldest Highs
1. 1983: 1
2. 1878: 10
3. 1924: 11
4. 1980: 15
5. 1902: 16
6. 1985: 17
7. 1884, 2000: 19
8. 1899, 1906, 1914:20
9. 1950, 1968: 22
10. 1935, 1969, 2001: 23

Top 10 Coldest Lows
1. 1983: -12
2. 1980: -5
3. 1935: -4
4. 1924: -3
5. 1878: -2
6. 2004: -1
7. 1985: 1
8. 2000: 2
9. 1884: 4
10. 1914, 1999: 7

Top 10 Warmest Highs
1. 1893: 64
2. 1982: 63
3. 1932, 1940: 62
4. 1889: 60
5. 1964: 58
6. 1895, 1955: 57
7. 1891: 55
8. 1936, 2015: 53
9. 1888, 1915, 1987: 52
10. 1965, 1973: 51

Top 10 Warmest Lows
1. 1889, 1982: 55
2. 1895: 52
3. 1893: 49
4. 1891: 45
5. 2015: 43
6. 1932, 1940: 40
7. 1888, 1964, 1973: 39
8. 1987: 38
9. 1922, 1941, 2009, 2016: 37
10. 1936, 1972: 36

Number of Days with the High Temperature
Less than 10: 1
10-19: 7
20-29: 24
30-39: 54
40-49: 36
50-59: 12
60 or Higher: 5

Number of Days with the Low Temperature
Less than 0: 6
0-9: 7
10-19: 35
20-29: 46
30-39: 37
40-49: 5
50 or Higher: 3

Top 10 Wettest
1. 2009: 0.79″
2. 1944: 0.77″
3. 1926: 0.69″
4. 1951: 0.58″
5. 2006: 0.57″
6. 1945: 0.54″
7. 1957: 0.52″
8. 1987, 2005: 0.51″
9. 1915: 0.48″
10. 1909: 0.47″

Number of Days with Precipitation
0.00″: 44
Trace: 26
0.01″-0.24″: 54
0.25″-0.49″: 6
0.50″-0.74″: 7
0.75″-0.99″: 2
1.00″ or More: 0

Top 10 Snowiest
1. 1890: 7.0″
2. 1909: 5.7″
3. 1950: 3.0″
4. 1917: 2.5″
5. 1969: 2.3″
6. 1884: 2.2″
7. 1976: 1.9″
8. 1880: 1.8″
9. 1935: 1.3″
10. 1944: 1.2″

Most Snow on the Ground (Since 1947)
1. 1960: 9″
2. 1961, 1963, 1989, 1995: 4″
3. 1969, 1980, 2004: 3″

Number of Days with Snowfall
0.0″: 73
Trace: 22
0.1″-0.4″: 19
0.5″-0.9″: 9
1″-2.9″: 7
3″ or More: 3

href=”http://allcolumbusdata.com/december/”>December Weather
For more general Columbus weather records, go here: