Despite almost no rain in August and September, 2012 is shaping up to be a wet year in Corvallis.
If December sees at least the historical average of 7.1 inches, the annual rainfall will reach 57.8 inches — higher annual rainfall than the past 14 years. The most recent years that saw that amount of precipitation were 1998 with 60 inches, 1996 — the record — at 73.2 inches, and 1968 with 58.7 inches.
The rainfall is high but not record-breaking, by any means, said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University.
“We do have more rain at this time of year than normal, but there are a handful of years with 50-plus inches of precipitation,” she said.
The flooding last month wasn’t surprising, she said, because November and December are historically the wettest months of the year.
However, January and March this year saw about double their average rainfall.
“It has been an abnormal year,” Dello said, “starting … with January — very wet with flooding — and then an anomalously wet spring.”
January weather put roads under water, flooded homes and buildings, and caused landslides and downed trees during torrential downpours in western Oregon that reminded locals of the historical flooding of 1996. Still, however, it did not reach the level of rainfall or destruction as that infamous year.
Late summer and early fall were atypically dry with rains not arriving until mid-October, but November had a few extra inches of precipitation to make up for it.
The first few days of December has seen 1.7 inches of rain with more forecast for this week, though it’s to early to tell what the rest of the month will bring.
“I don’t like to call the game in the third quarter,” Dello said, “so I’d be cautious about making projections about how the rest of the year might play out.”