Wet Wet Wet

by J.D. Roth

Oh, how embarrassing: all the data I’ve quoted in this entry is actually for Astoria, not Portland. (Except the records — I quoted the records for Portland.) I’ll post correct numbers on the 11th.

“I wonder how much rain we’ve had so far this year,” Kris said as she climbed into bed. Just the sort of research challenge I live for.

Since January first, Portland has had 6.22 inches of rain, which is 3.34 inches above the norm of 2.88 inches. Over the same period last year, we received only 1.83 inches of rain. (And, remember, between February 15th and March 15th, we had no rain and record warmth.)

Even more remarkable is the amount of rain we’ve had since the cold spell ended on Decemeber 18th. Over the past twenty-two days we’ve had 19.35 inches of rain, which is 12.27 inches above the norm of 7.08 inches. Over the same period last year, we received only 4.02 inches of rain.

And, of course, there’s more rain in the forecast.

More rain. And flooding. And, from the banging of the doors and awnings, plenty of wind tonight. Good night. Stay dry.

After I reported on our flooded cellar last week, Dave gave us some advice about extending our downspout drainage away from the house. Over the weekend we attached some sewer tubing to the end of two downspouts, so that the roof runoff drained to the lawn (which slopes away from the house) instead of next to the back porch (where it drains toward the house slightly).

Kris went down to the basement this morning to verify that our handiwork had produced the desired results. It hadn’t.

“The flooding is back, and it’s worse than ever,” she announced. I put on my shoes and tromped down to run the sump pump. I actually don’t mind the flooding (it’s kind of fun) except for the horrible musty smell that accompanies it. I’m deeply concerned that this odor may be overpowering in the entire house by the time May arrives.

At least my roof patch job seems to have been effective. We don’t seem to have any new leaks (though the previous leakage caused even more damage when the ceiling dried: paint cracked, stains appeared, etc.)

When I originally posted this entry last night, I forgot to mention that we’re having a heavy water year. (The water year is measured from October 1st to September 30th.) According to the National Weather Service, Portland has received 40.01 inches of rain this water year, which is 10.62 inches above the norm of 29.39 inches. (Last year we had received 24.20 inches of rain by this date.)

Looking at historical water year data for Portland, it seems that we only need another 7.40 inches of rain for this year to be the firth wettest on record since the Portland International Airport opened in 1940. If we can get up to 56.48 inches, we’ll be the fifth wettest on record since 1870. (I wish the above-linked page had data for 1998-1999; memory tells me that was another wet winter, though wet in a different way: misty and constant rather than full of periodic downpours.)

Updated: 09 January 2006

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