Two Weeks, Three Feet of Rain

All rainfall between 26 Aug and 9 Sep 2011. Credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.All rainfall between 26 Aug and 9 Sep 2011. Measurements analyzed by the National Weather Service’s River Forecast Centers, based on radar, rain gauges, and satellite rainfall estimates. Credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.

If you’ve been wondering just how waterlogged it’s been the past two weeks in the eastern US, here’s an appropriately soggy-looking visual aid. Nearly three feet of rain fell in a broad north-south swath from Virginia through New England between 26 August and 6 September, thanks to Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and a few cold fronts from the north. Some locations weathered two month’s worth of rain in a half week. More rain fell over the weekend, likely pushing rainfall totals past the three-foot mark in at least a few areas. Unfortunately, the weather pattern looks ready to set up another wet window in the East after the coming weekend. Plus some models are forecasting the development of a tropical depression or strong tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa later this week. Meanwhile, over in Texas, the situation is all about a different bleak extreme: with drought fueling 18,719 wildfires that have burned 3.5-plus million acres—more than half the total burned in the nation this year.