Spring 2019 - April showers bring May flowers, but this is ridiculous!

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Photo, Jack Donnelly, RINewsToday contributing meteorologist

It’s been a wet Spring, but you already knew that, suffering what seemingly was a daily batch of rain from one storm system after another killing outdoor plans, delaying outdoor projects, and generally dampening moods. As a meteorologist, I catch the latter in the form of choice remarks and some less than flattering comments on social media and in person, but it goes with the territory.


But how wet has Spring 2019 been so far? Beginning with March 20, 2019, the first day of Spring, we’ve had 43 days of measurable rain out of the 60 days, greater than 2/3rds. We had one stretch, from April 26 to May 8, with rain every single one of those 13 days. From April 12 to May 17 it DIDN’T rain on only 4 of those 36 days!


The onset of a weak El Nino event, which is a warming of the sea surface off the coast of Peru in South America that has implications for the continental US in the form of elevated moisture over the southern US and warmer temps over the northeast, pointed to a rainy Spring if some of that southern moisture could be tapped into. Our upper level weather pattern did just that once we turned the corner into mid-April, where a dip in the jetstream grabbed southern moisture and fed mid latitude cyclones, low pressure systems, that is, as well as central and eastern Canadian systems that competed with the southern stream systems targeting the northeastern US.


Another factor in the equation was the presence of a blocking upper ridge over northeastern Canada and the north Atlantic which encouraged a stalling of the jetstream trough already in place, allowing for one system after another to roll through mid-April to mid-May, yielding close to 7 inches of rain for April, close to 3 inches above the normal amount, and over 2 inches so far in May, on pace for at least a normal amount, and judging from the mid-range models which show 5 distinct events through the end of the month, May is poised to join April in the above normal rainfall club this season.


Not to test Mother Nature with unusual requests, I think many would join me in hoping for a bit of a break in this rainy pattern, and this weekend is a promising start.


Jack Donnelly, meteorologist