Spring rains a little too hyped

Although this spring – and particularly the months of May and June – felt like one deluge of rain after another, local statistics provided by the Batesville Water & Gas Utility show the rainfall amounts underwhelmed compared to other amounts in the city's history.

"We were nowhere near the record for either May or June," confirmed Eric Laker, who has served as water utility manager for the past two years. His source is a comprehensive record of city rainfall that dates back to the start of 1937.

Laker did acknowledge that precipitation amounts are recorded near the utility's site on North Eastern Avenue, meaning exact totals can vary at rain gauges around town. For instance, the manager had heard reports that those just outside the city limits on the south end received a lot more wetness than those in town.

April showers foretold that the season may get a little damper than most. With a total of 12 days receiving rain (seven times above .1 inches), April accumulated 4.96 inches in all, or slightly higher than the same month in 2018. The largest downpour came on Saturday, April 20, when 1.62 inches were measured.

Batesville residents were greeted by three consecutive days of rain when the calendar turned over to May, the 3.03 inches representing 56 percent of the eventual monthly total of 5.45 inches. On Friday, May 3, the high-water mark of 1.75 inches was reached. The month recovered from that three-day beginning, though measurable rain occurred on 16 – or over half – of May's 31 days, including on each of the final three days. Eleven times the gauges eclipsed .1 inches.

The 5.45-inch total for May was certainly higher than last May's (3.01) and topped the average of 4.54, but historical data was not threatened at all. The amount did not register among the top 20 May totals over the past 83 years. Moreover, the May 2002 record of 10.79 inches nearly doubled the 5.45 this year.

Things got a little more serious in June.

The amount of 6.68 inches slotted into 15th place among past Junes, but was still less than the 6.92 of June 2018 and far below the city's June record of 10.58 inches in 2010. The monthly average is 4.48 inches. Of the 11 rainy days, eight came in at .1 inches or higher.

Sunday, June 9, saw a total of 1.77 inches fall from the sky. This was a prelude to a mid-month squall that featured five consecutive days of the wet stuff (June 15-19). During that particular stretch, 3.74 inches were tabulated; the month's top precipitation came on Sunday, June 16 (1.89 inches).

So, how did the two-month totals of May and June stack up against similar pairings in the city's record book?

For starters, that combination couldn't make it into the top 15 historically. The 2019 total of 12.13 inches easily surpassed the monthly combined average of 9.02. However, the city's May-June record was accomplished in spring 1996, when 17.9 inches were counted.

Batesville's annual average rainfall currently sits at 42.58 inches. The 2018 total was 48.24 inches and 24.02 inches had fallen through the first six months of the year. At this year's midpoint, the city's number stood at 30.17 inches. One could definitely assume from that nugget that 2019 is on pace to pass the city's yearly average once more.

Will Fehlinger can be contacted at sports@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 112.