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April rain set record, climatologist says

Recent widespread rainfall has set a record for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, according to State Climatologist Stuart Foster.

Kentucky Mesonet logoApril 2011 goes down as the wettest April on record in Kentucky going back to 1895 based on preliminary data compiled by the National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration, he said.

Dr. Foster, director of the Kentucky Mesonet and Kentucky Climate Center at WKU, provided the following information on April rainfall:

Statewide, precipitation averaged 11.88 inches for the month. This total exceeded the previous record of 7.61 inches in 1972 by more than 4 inches.

The wettest month of the year on record is January 1937, when precipitation averaged 16.13 inches across Kentucky. That month marked the historic Ohio River flood that inundated Louisville, Paducah and many other cities.

Precipitation was well distributed throughout the month of April but was particularly abundant in the final third. Many Kentucky Mesonet stations recorded more than 1 inch of rain on at least five days during the month. The greatest amount of precipitation for one day was 6.00 inches at Benton in Marshall County on April 24. A total of that magnitude or more would be expected to occur approximately once in 20 years.

The April rainfall table contains precipitation totals for Kentucky Mesonet stations organized by area development district. The Kentucky Mesonet, housed and operated by the Kentucky Climate Center in the Department of Geography and Geology at WKU, is the office source of climatological observations for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Not included in the data are precipitation totals for the first three days of May, which exceeded 5 inches in areas of the lower Ohio River Valley and in the Jackson Purchase region.

Contact: Stuart Foster, (270) 745-5983.

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