The large mounds of flood debris stacked around many Iowa communities give a pretty good indication that June rainfall numbers were going to take a new place in the state record books. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says the rainfall nearly pushed to the top of the list.
June 2008 will go down as the second wettest in 136 years of record keeping, with a statewide average of 8.86 inches of rain — nearly double the normal average. The only June that saw more rainfall was in 1947, with an average of 10.33 inches of rain. Hillaker says the first half of this year is the wettest first six months of a year ever.
Statewide, Iowa recorded an average of 24.30 inches of rain — roughly eight inches of rain more than usual — and about an inch ahead of the previous wettest January to June in 1951. Hillaker says while the wet June certainly was responsible for the massive flooding, the months before kept the ground wet enough to add to the trouble.
Hillaker says we not only had the second wettest June, but also the second wettest April, and going back to last year, it was the second wettest December, fourth wettest October and the wettest August on record. The highest rainfall reported was 15.13 inches at Dorchester in far northeast Iowa and 15.05 inches in Massena in the southwest.
Hillaker says though, it’s not likely 2008 will overtake 1993 for the wettest year in state history. Hillaker says in 1993, which now is the fifth wettest January through June, had an extremely wet second half of the year, especially July and August. He says we’d have to average as much rain in the second half of this year as the first half to finish as wet as 1993. "With any luck whatsoever, we won’t do that this time around," Hillaker says. All the clouds and rain also kept the heat down in June.
June was the seventh consecutive month with temperatures below normal, and it was the coldest start to a year since 1982. June temperatures averaged 69.7 degrees. Hillaker says July averages around 4.25 inches of rainfall and if the month holds to the average, it would be the driest month on average this year.