It hasn’t stopped.
According to Craig T. Mullinax, manager of the Cleveland Utilities Water Division, the public utility’s Cleveland Filter Plant recorded at least 12.83 inches of rain during the holiday washout, setting the stage for one of the wettest Septembers on record for this area.
Although the filter plant recorded almost 13 inches, some areas notched as much as 13.36 inches, he said in a recent report to members of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities.
Ironically, even as Mullinax was delivering his monthly rainfall report recently at the Cleveland Utilities Training Center, the clouds over Cleveland were opening again on the same day en route to unleashing more than 4 additional inches and creating more flash flooding, just as Tropical Depression Lee had 2 1/2 weeks earlier.
“This is by far the highest rainfall total we’ve seen in September,” Mullinax said. TD Lee swept in the first “dramatic changes” for the summer and the momentum hasn’t slowed, he reported.
Final rainfall totals for September won’t be known for a few more days, but thoughts of the mid- to late-summer drought are already becoming distant memories. The 13 inches of rain (as of Sept. 20) recorded at the filter plant compare extremely favorably to only .27 of an inch in August and 1.78 inches in July.
The September totals far exceed the past two years. In 2009, the month of September saw 8.58 inches in Cleveland, but the number dropped to 1.90 in 2010. The average rainfall total in September for the Cleveland area is 4.82 inches.
At this pace, Cleveland’s rainfall total could hit 65.57 inches by year’s end which would be 11.67 inches above normal, Mullinax explained.
Through Sept. 20, Cleveland’s highest rainfall totals in recent years came in 2003 with 56.90 inches. The amount was 50.44 inches in 2009 compared to 49.18 inches so far this year. The lowest amounts came in 2007 with 20.78 inches, followed by 2008 with 33.64 inches and 2002 with 35.77 inches.
A weather phenomenon known as La Nina is being linked to this year’s heavier rainfall, excluding the scant amounts that fell in July and August.