I did some research:
“The past several years, we’ve been running huge deficits, been in a drought. Finally we’re starting to make up for that,” said Storm Team Ten Meteorologist Patrick McKee.
For January, February, March, and April, rainfall has been pretty close to average compared to previous years. But in May, we got 2.6 inches more rain than average and so far in June, we’re 1.3 inches above average. This puts us on pace to be close to a three inch rain surplus this month too.
So why are we getting so much rain this time of year?
“The past couple of years we saw very heavy rain throughout the plains. Patterns have now shifted that towards the east coast to where we’re getting the rain and they’re not,” said McKee.
We’ve seen droughts in the past couple summers, so the question is, will it be a dry summer? Or continue to pelt us with the wet stuff?
“We are going to see this rain continuing for us probably through the summer off and on. We’ll go through some wet spells and some dry spells followed by another round of rain. I don’t see us going back into a drought.“
The high-altitude jet stream that guides the movement of weather across the country has been south of its normal position over the last couple of weeks, sending a series of storms across the Midwest and East, explained meteorologist Ed O'Lenic of the federal Climate Prediction Center.
"It's a lot like an extended spring," said O'Lenic in a telephone interview. "For whatever reason, and the atmosphere only knows the answer, this is the way it is being acted out."
While calendars say summer begins on Sunday, that refers to astronomical summer. Meteorological, or weather summer, began June 1.
Parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and eastern Pennsylvania have received rain totals 1.5 to 3.75 inches greater than normal for the past two weeks, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
One possible reason is "persistence," said Kathryn Vreeland, a climatologist at the center.
Sometimes a weather pattern just persists, she said, "just hangs out there until something comes along to make things happen differently."
Said O'Lenic: "For some reason people have this feeling that they ought to be able to remember, in their lifetime, something similar" to what is happening. "That is not the way it works. There is a lot of natural variability."
Just ask Seattle. People in that normally damp city are going through a near-record spring dry spell, boosting the threat of wildfires in western Washington state.
Could El Nino be at fault?
"Good question," says O'Lenic. El Ninos are periodic weather phenomena that develop in the Pacific. It looks as if one is developing, but it's not under way yet.
Or maybe global warming?
"The answer is, we don't know," O'Lenic says. But, he adds, "It's unlikely that any particular weather system can be attributed to climate change."
Perhaps it's simply time to turn to Creedence Clearwater Revival:
"Long as I remember, the rain been comin' down,
"Clouds of myst'ry pourin', confusion on the ground,
"Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun,
"And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain."
Associated Press Writers Ron Todt in Philadelphia and Everton Bailey Jr. in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this story.