Rain, Rain, Will It Ever Go Away?

If it seems that you’re reaching for your umbrella more often — or wishing you had — here’s the reason.

Ohio is getting a lot more rain than it used to and more intense downpours.

That may seem like just an inconvenience when you want to work outside or an expense if your roof springs a leak. However, the consequences are far more significant for farmers who plant and tend crops in soggy fields and for the water quality of Lake Erie that’s affected by pollution sources including rain running off fields carrying fertilizer with it.

Ohio receives 10 percent more rain per year, on average, than we did in the 20th century.

“You can think of it as the ‘new normal,’ ” said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

Ohio’s current annual average is 42 inches, up 3 inches from the 39-inch average in the 20th century, Wilson said.

Three inches may sound like just a drop in the, well, bucket, but “the problem is the intensity at which the rain is falling,” Wilson said.

The additional 3 inches aren’t spread across the entire year. Instead the bulk of Ohio’s rain is falling in intense rain events, followed by an increase in consecutive dry days, Wilson said.

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