Topeka's had more rain so far in 2019 than it does in an average year

Published: Aug. 19, 2019 at 6:22 PM CDT
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To say 2019 has been a wet year would be a bit of an understatement.

The most recent rains pushed Topeka's rain gauges past a landmark. The City has now received more rain this year than it does in an average year – and there are still more than 130 days to go!

So far, 36.8 inches of precipitation has fallen at Billard Airport, pushing it past the average for the past 30 years: 36.46 inches. With four months to go in 2019, the rainfall total is more than a foot higher than 24.78 inches that would normally be expected by this point of the year.

The comparison to last year, when a drought gripped the state, is even more staggering. On August 19, 2018, Billard had only recorded 15.29 inches, less than half of this year’s total.

While Topeka is further ahead of the pace than many surrounding communities, none of them have been spared. Emporia is more than 10 inches up on their annual average, while Manhattan and Concordia are both over seven inches ahead, at 7.72 and 7.04 inches, respectively.

More than a statistical anomaly, the heavy rains have wreaked havoc on northeast Kansas. Floodwaters forced many reservoirs to open drainage gates or pipes. The water rose so high around Perry Lake that many surrounding buildings were washed out and, near Tuttle Creek Reservoir, organizers needed to move Country Stampede to the relatively drier Heartland Park, because the land was so saturated.

The water damage has led President Donald Trump to declare federal disaster areas for much of the region.