Now that it’s September, it’s official. State climatologist Barry Keim says August 2016 is Louisiana’s wettest August on record – due to the mid-month event that caused historic flooding.
“When you break the record, you just barely beat it, okay? We’re crushing records with this event. It’s just amazing!” Keim says. “We have nine stations that are over twenty inches. I mean, that’s incredible, in and of itself.”
He explains we were in an unsettled weather pattern all month long. And then the big rains started Thursday night, August 11th, continuing into Friday the 12th.
“It rained every minute of the day. It rained all night long. And it was still raining on Saturday morning before it finally stopped. So we had 32 straight continuous hours of rainfall.”
As the official keeper of the state’s weather records, he’s still stunned at how much it rained.
“I don’t ever remember going for an entire day where it didn’t at least stop raining for a little while. I haven’t had a chance to investigate just how rare that is, but I’m working on it.”
So what was the mid-August rainfall event?
“This is tropically disturbed weather, just like a hurricane is tropically disturbed weather. It just came here without the winds,” Keim says.
But no winds mean no name.
“When a storm comes in and does damage like this, it perhaps is maybe useful to give it a name,” Keim says thoughtfully, though he adds, it would be difficult to do. It would require a whole new category of storms.
“What’s unique about this storm is there’s nothing unique about this storm,” Keim says, with a chuckle. “We get about a hundred of ‘em a year.”
Then he adds, wonderingly, “It just seemed so innocuous and inconspicuous on a weather map.”