GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Statistics and math may not be everyone's favorite subjects, but the number one carries certain bragging rights.
As we enter into the final month of 2019, this year could earn the distinction of being the wettest on record for Grand Rapids, the state of Michigan and the lower 48 states as a whole when looking at records dating back to 1895.
There are two widely accepted ways to measure annual precipitation amounts. The most common for the general public is Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. But that method splits the winter into two parts and doesn't accurately account for total accumulations during the winter months.
The other way is called a water year, defined by the US Geological Survey as "the 12-month period October 1, for any given year through September 30, of the following year."
For the state of Michigan, 2019 (January through October) ranks as the wettest since 1895. Michigan joins several states in the Midwest with the record title in 2019.
With nearly every state reporting above average or much above average rainfall through the first three quarters of the year, the contiguous U.S. is on pace to set a new annual rainfall record.
Several heavy rain events have contributed to these high numbers, especially in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions. This is part of the reason why Lake Michigan is experiencing some of the highest water levels we've seen in decades.
With winter and the snowy season on the way, we'll expect a slight slow-down in precipitation as snowflakes tend to have less moisture trapped in them versus raindrops.
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