Rainfall trends in Chicago

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Dear Tom,
Last year was one of the wettest years on record in Chicago. Are we trending to hit or exceed that record this year?
Mike Parenti,  Palatine
Dear Mike,
Chicago’s precipitation has been trending heavier in recent years. Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski checked annual precipitation totals back to 1871 and found that four of the city’s 10 wettest years have occurred since 2001. The all-time wettest year was 2008, when precipitation totaled 50.86 inches, followed by 2011 with 49.83 inches. Last year the city measured 49.23 inches, the fourth-wettest. Through Oct. 4, Chicago’s 2019 precipitation total stood at 41.69 inches, and without another drop or flake the rest of the year, would be the city’s 25th-wettest. With just normal precipitation through the end of the year, 2019 would rank as the city’s second-wettest year.

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