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20 states had record rainfall in 2019—see what this intense year means for you

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20 states had record rainfall in 2019—see what this intense year means for you

2019 was a year of extremes for weather in the U.S., and for the world at large: while tropical storms, ongoing wildfires, and record-breaking droughts played out across the globe, many areas in the U.S. were facing unprecedented precipitation levels. 2019 precipitation in the contiguous U.S. was 34.78 inches; this makes 2019 the second-wettest year on record nationally at 4.84 inches above the 20th-century average (29.94 inches). Only nine states had less rainfall than their 20th-century average in 2019. May 2019, in particular, was the second-wettest month overall in U.S. history.

Five states had their wettest year on record in 2019, (meaning from 1895 to now), and 15 others ranked it in their top ten. To dig into this record year, Stacker consulted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information Statewide Time Series, released in January 2020. Forty-nine states are 2019 ranked here according to how much their 2019 precipitation diverged from average rainfall in the 20th century (1901–2000) or, in the case of Alaska, average rainfall since weather recording began in that state (1925–2000). 2019 data is not yet available for Hawaii.

According to the NOAA data, many of these states saw increases in both extreme rain events and extreme drought events, simultaneously—interrelated climate events that are only expected to repeat and grow over the 21st century. Many states that experienced one of their wettest years yet in 2019 are now headed into prolonged drought periods. Some states typically characterized as majorly “wet”—including Washington and Florida—had overall dry years. Each of the 50 state summaries presented by NOAA’s National Environmental Center noted the unmistakable hand of climate change in increasingly erratic weather patterns across the country: “Historically unprecedented warming” levels will increase rates of both drought and precipitation, with extreme events in either category expected to become more frequent, and more intense.

Such dramatic fluctuations in weather extremes cannot be viewed as isolated events, either. As the NOAA notes, “Climatic factors such as temperature, rainfall, snowfall, cloudiness, and winds have a significant impact on many aspects of the nation's economy as well as human health and quality of life.” Among the sectors cited as reliant on predictable weather are ski resorts, housing construction, energy usage, and farming. Further emphasizing the broad reach climate has on daily life, the NOAA is planning to develop public indices cross-secting weather events with their effects on transportation, retail, tourism, and human health.

Read on to discover what 2019 had in store for your state’s precipitation levels, and what that means for agriculture, infrastructure, and a variety of other industries.

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Justin Cron // Unsplash

#49. Washington

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 32.93 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -9.1 inches (average: 42.03 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #9 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 1996 (54.95 inches of rainfall, 12.92 inches above 100-year average)

Rainfall was so low in Washington state this year that in May 2019 Governor Jay Inslee announced a drought emergency, encompassing 24 watersheds within the state. Inslee noted that the lack of precipitation would have ripple effects on agricultural irrigation, public drinking water, and fisheries in particular. The state is still attempting to maintain its water supply under the Drought Declaration, which will not expire until April 2020.

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Nate Hovee // Shutterstock

#48. Georgia

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 47.79 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -2.28 inches (average: 50.07 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #51 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 1964 (70.46 inches of rainfall, 20.39 inches above 100-year average)

A “flash drought” hit Georgia in September 2019, the result of accumulating dryness and heat throughout the late summer. Though the drought eased by December, greater drought intensity is predicted in the state’s future. Communities in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin are anticipated to be particularly affected by a shortened public water supply.

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Sabeel Ahammed // Canva

#47. Oregon

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 30.01 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -2.21 inches (average: 32.22 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #45 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 1996 (48.87 inches of rainfall, 16.65 inches above 100-year average)

Relatively low rainfall in Oregon caused most of the state to be in “moderate drought” by 2019’s end, thanks in large part to a dry summer. As reservoir storage rates are still at a normal level, the population’s public water supply is not projected to be negatively impacted. Wildfires, however, are predicted to increase in frequency and scale in the coming years, thanks to increasing dryness across the state.

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Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago/U.S. Air National Guard // Flickr

#46. South Carolina

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 45.71 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -2.18 inches (average: 47.89 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #50 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 1964 (69.32 inches of rainfall, 21.43 inches above 100-year average)

Nearly two-thirds of South Carolina’s population felt the effects of drought by October 2019. A lack of rain in August and September diminished harvests in corn and soybeans. Additionally, peanuts were hit hard, with maturation of the crop slowed without proper moisture.

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Phillip Pessar // Flickr

#45. Florida

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 52.04 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -1.61 inches (average: 53.65 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #49 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 1947 (72.94 inches of rainfall, 19.29 inches above 100-year average)

Tropical Storm Nestor hit Florida in October 2019, bringing flooding and thunderstorms and wreaking around $150 million in damage. Despite the autumn wetness, however, 2019 still concluded as an overall dry year for Florida. Looking to the future, increases in both extreme rainfall and drought are predicted, with decreased public water availability, wildfires, and damage to Florida’s unique ecosystems thought to be impending.

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Nicole Glass Photography // Shutterstock

#44. Delaware

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 41.91 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -1.44 inches (average: 43.35 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #56 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 1948 (60.05 inches of rainfall, 16.7 inches above 100-year average)

Just an inch and a half or so below average precipitation was enough to harm Delaware’s agricultural economy in 2019. Key crops including soybeans and rye yielded low harvests after facing dry soil.

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Visions of America/Universal Images Group // Getty Images

#43. New Mexico

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 13.47 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -0.52 inches (average: 13.99 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #57 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 1941 (26.57 inches of rainfall, 12.58 inches above 100-year average)

New Mexico’s year largely veered away from major precipitation (or drought) events, ending with a rainfall level only slightly below average. Precipitation during the spring months, however, is projected to decrease across the state in coming years, lowering water supply reservoirs, increasing wildfires, and harming grasslands (and by extension, livestock).

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Katie Drazdauskaite // Unsplash

#42. Idaho

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 23.36 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -0.51 inches (average: 23.87 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #62 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 1996 (32.1 inches of rainfall, 8.23 inches above 100-year average)

Late spring and early summer were particularly wet for Idaho, but despite the frequent storms, the state still ended with an overall dry year. Fluctuating weather patterns are expected to ramp up in Idaho, with more frequent heavy precipitation events predicted alongside more frequent drought. Besides affecting the state’s agricultural industry, this will increase the risk and intensity of wildfires.

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Corey Leopold // Flickr

#41. Texas

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 26.83 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): -0.25 inches (average: 27.08 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #61 driest year
- Wettest year on record: 2015 (41.23 inches of rainfall, 14.15 inches above 100-year average)

Despite Texas tallying in at a slightly below average rainfall rate for 2019, the year brought one of the most significant precipitation events in recent history to the state: Tropical Storm Imelda. Imelda hit in September, pouring between 30 and 44 inches of rain across Houston and Beaumont. The storm caused significant flooding, killed five people, stranded vehicles on I-10, and imposed $2 billion in damage.

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Andy Mangold // Flickr

#40. Maryland

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 42.75 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 0.16 inches (average: 42.59 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #61 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2018 (64.62 inches of rainfall, 22.03 inches above 100-year average)

Maryland had a particularly wet year thanks to Tropical Storm Melissa, which hit in October and flooded many coastal towns, causing widespread street closures and forcing visitors to wade through the annual United States Sailboat Show. Winter and spring precipitation rates are expected to increase in Maryland in the future, causing particular concern for the state’s many urban coastal areas.

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Visions of America/Universal Images Group // Getty Images

#39. Colorado

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 18.84 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 0.72 inches (average: 18.12 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #43 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1941 (25.52 inches of rainfall, 7.4 inches above 100-year average)

Above-average precipitation in Colorado did more than just dampen roads: scientists found that the rain contained microplastics. These tiny pollutants are expected to have negative effects on the health of both local communities and wilderness. Future precipitation in Colorado is expected to increase in the winter while decreasing in the summer, an imbalance that could cause more frequent extreme weather events in the state.

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John Noonan // Unsplash

#38. Alabama

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 56.04 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 0.79 inches (average: 55.25 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #57 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1929 (75.07 inches of rainfall, 19.82 inches above 100-year average)

Increasing precipitation in Alabama has evoked nuisance flooding, which has caused road closures, damaged infrastructure, and flooded storm drains. Nuisance flooding is expected to continue and possibly increase. Combined with rising sea levels, this is expected to have detrimental effects on highways, ports, and marine waterway transportation, particularly near Mobile.

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Rob Crandall // Shutterstock

#37. Alaska

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 38 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1925-2000): 1.3 inches (average: 36.7 inches)
- 2019 rank (1925–2019): #40 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1928 (43.54 inches of rainfall, 6.84 inches above 100-year average)

By June 2019, drought in Alaska was so intense that the National Weather Service issued a warning to Juneau residents to be wary of wildfires; by September, some areas were receiving flood warnings due to heavy rain. These unusual precipitation patterns in a state that warms far more rapidly than the coastal U.S. wreaked havoc on the $1.5 billion fishing industry on which Alaska depends. To guard against anticipated unpredictability in future weather, the USDA Northwest Climate Hub and USDA Forest Service are implementing various strategies to “enhance long-term resilience of Southeast Alaskan communities and ecosystems,” including improving salmon habitats, building flexible trailheads, and improving winter recreation access.

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JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP // Getty Images

#36. North Carolina

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 51.03 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 1.7 inches (average: 49.33 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #46 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2018 (68.35 inches of rainfall, 19.02 inches above 100-year average)

North Carolina had barely recovered from Hurricane Dorian in September before getting hit with Tropical Storm Nestor in October. While the latter caused $150 million in damage along the Florida Panhandle, the former brought heavy flooding to the eastern shore of the state, including the Outer Banks. Ocracoke Island, home to at least 1,000 people, was closed to visitors until early December.

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Corey Leopold // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Arizona

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 14.77 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 2.15 inches (average: 12.62 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #20 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1905 (22.77 inches of rainfall, 10.15 inches above 100-year average)

2019 marked the first time Arizona saw rain on Christmas Day since 2008; despite ending the year with above-average precipitation levels, however, the state was marked by a particularly harsh dry season, which is only projected to worsen. Increasingly frequent droughts are expected to deplete water supply reservoirs, irrigation systems, and agricultural resources, as well as increase dust storms and wildfires.

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greg westfall // Flickr

#34. Wyoming

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 18.34 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 2.4 inches (average: 15.94 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #21 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1927 (20.5 inches of rainfall, 4.56 inches above 100-year average)

Wyoming’s wet 2019 was only a preview of what is to come: winter and spring rainfall is predicted to increase in the state in coming years. With that increase comes an increased potential for severe flooding. Since Wyoming serves as a water source for not only itself, but many surrounding states as well, future floods could impact communities in the Missouri-Mississippi, Green-Colorado, Snake-Columbia, and Great Salt Lake basins.

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Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor // Getty Images

#33. Montana

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 21.42 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 2.77 inches (average: 18.65 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #17 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1927 (26.15 inches of rainfall, 18.65 inches above 100-year average)

Heavy rains in Montana caused a weed outbreak among some farms, affecting the state’s central agricultural industry. Future annual precipitation levels in Montana are expected to increase, which could have either positive or negative effects—“improving soil moisture but potentially delaying planting and resulting in loss of yield”—on the agricultural, mining, and tourism economies.

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Virginia

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 45.89 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 2.95 inches (average: 42.94 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #31 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2018 (63.53 inches of rainfall, 20.59 inches above 100-year average)

Heavy rains across Virginia had detrimental effects on agriculture, with produce, pumpkins, wine grapes, and cattle hit particularly hard in 2019. Annual precipitation totals are expected to increase in Virginia, having ripple effects on the state’s agricultural economy.

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Don Graham // Flickr

#31. Utah

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 16.87 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 3.31 inches (average: 13.56 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895-2019): #13 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1941 (20.33 inches of rainfall, 6.77 inches above 100-year average)

Like Virginia, Utah’s agricultural economy was hard-hit by excessive rain in 2019. Besides lucrative plants like corn, livestock—including cows and goats—suffered after farmers were unable to harvest sufficient hay. Utah is expected to receive increasing precipitation, risking flooding in the future.

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michael podger // Unsplash

#30. West Virginia

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 48 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 3.34 inches (average: 44.66 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #32 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2018 (65.1 inches of rainfall, 20.44 inches above 100-year average)

Heavy rains damaged infrastructure and brought life across West Virginia to a halt in 2019. Flooding stalled vehicles along Route 90, Route 33, and Route 24, and homes were evacuated in Seneca Rocks, and water rescues took place in Randolph County and Tucker County. As winter and spring precipitation are projected to increase in West Virginia, scientists believe that red spruce forests may be affected in particular.

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SignMedia // Shutterstock

#29. Nevada

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 13.68 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 3.38 inches (average: 10.3 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #8 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1983 (17.8 inches of rainfall, 7.5 inches above 100-year average)

The driest state in the country saw an unusually large amount of rain this year, alleviating some previous drought-inflicted pressures on reservoirs and ensuing public water supply. Despite 2019 being a wet year, however, rising temperatures are predicted to increase drought frequency in the state’s future, possibly leading to elevated wildfire risk and public water insecurity.

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Scott Olson // Getty Images

#28. Louisiana

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 62.07 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 5.18 inches (average: 56.89 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #37 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1991 (79.48 inches of rainfall, 22.59 inches above 100-year average)

Louisiana can owe a particularly wet 2019 in large part to Hurricane Barry and Tropical Storm Imelda, which caused $600 million and $2 billion, respectively, in damage across the U.S. Barry wrought flash flooding in July, with rains averaging 10–15 inches across the state, in some places reaching 23 inches. Luckily, no deaths or injuries were reported.

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David Brossard // Flickr

#27. New Hampshire

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 49.75 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 6.31 inches (average: 43.44 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #25 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2005 (61.09 inches of rainfall, 17.65 inches above 100-year average)

Precipitation has been rising in New Hampshire over the past 10 years, an upward trend that is only projected to continue. With increasing rainfall rates will come more frequent extreme precipitation events, including coastal storms, hurricanes, and tropical storms. Ensuing effects will likely include flooding and damage to infrastructure and property, particularly along the coast.

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Nan Fry // Flickr

#26. California

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 29.21 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 6.82 inches (average: 22.39 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #14 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1983 (42.46 inches of rainfall, 20.07 inches above 100-year average)

“Well-above-average” precipitation nearly eliminated California’s years-long drought by March 2019, with the amount of areas experiencing “exceptional drought” shrinking from 2.82% to 0.09%. This had welcome effects on the most productive agricultural state in the country, as well as on long-suffering reservoirs.

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Arun Thomas // Canva

#25. New Jersey

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 51.93 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 6.97 inches (average: 44.96 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #17 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2018 (64.76 inches of rainfall, 19.8 inches above 100-year average)

Tropical Storm Melissa caused nuisance flooding along New Jersey’s coast, including on Long Beach Island and in Atlantic City, where drainage systems were overwhelmed. Though New Jersey typically sees at least one storm a year along its coast, recent years have exhibited anywhere from five to ten. Heavy precipitation events are expected to increase in coming years, along with inland flooding and ensuing infrastructural damage.

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Tyler Olson // Shutterstock

#24. North Dakota

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 24.41 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 7.07 inches (average: 17.34 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #1 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2019

2019 was the wettest year in over a century for North Dakota, where summer floods wreaked damage to roads, homes, and crop fields across the state. Ahead of predicted increases in precipitation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun incrementally increasing releases from dams to prepare to withhold heavier volumes of water.

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Rajarshi MITRA // Flickr

#23. Connecticut

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 53.96 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 7.09 inches (average: 46.87 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #23 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2011 (63.69 inches of rainfall, 16.82 inches above 100-year average)

Much of Connecticut’s heavy rainfall was due to a bomb cyclone that made its way across the state in October, which led to road closures, flooding, and power outages. As annual precipitation rates are expected to increase, coastal communities in particular are at risk of a repeat of the damage seen this past year.

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Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald // Getty Images

#22. Maine

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 49.66 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 7.68 inches (average: 41.98 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #15 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2005 (61.59 inches of rainfall, 19.61 inches above 100-year average)

December storms flooded Maine, where roads were closed, drainage systems were overwhelmed, and creeks and rivers overflowed. Annual precipitation levels in Maine are expected to increase, risking the pollution of freshwater sources from storm runoff. With a large fishing and seafood market, this could have reverberations on Maine’s economy.

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Christopher Michel // Wikimedia Commons

#21. New York

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 48.1 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 7.81 inches (average: 40.29 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #9 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2011 (55.71 inches of rainfall, 15.42 inches above 100-year average)

New York has recently seen a spike in intense precipitation events that is only predicted to continue, particularly in the spring. In rural areas, this is expected to create challenges for the agricultural industry. In New York City, a more pungent side effect is anticipated: sewage overflows.

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Ren Wang // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Massachusetts

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 52.53 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 7.88 inches (average: 44.65 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #16 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2018 (61.03 inches of rainfall, 16.38 inches above 100-year average)

Tropical Storm Erin delivered Massachusetts a particularly rainy August. Unlike the flooding and infrastructural damage experienced in other states, however, the nearly six inch surplus of water was a welcome addition to the state’s water supply.

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Skitterphoto // Canva

#19. Ohio

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 46.75 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 8.46 inches (average: 38.29 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #6 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2011 (55.95 inches of rainfall, 17.66 inches above 100-year average)

A notably wet year decimated much of Ohio’s agriculture in 2019, with only 50% of the state’s corn crop and 32% of its soybean crop planted by June 9 (for perspective, those numbers are usually 96% and 89% by that date, respectively.) Wheat and alfalfa crops suffered as well. With winter and spring rainfall rates predicted to increase in coming years—bringing weeds and pests to crop fields—Ohio’s agricultural industry, and thus economy, likely has major challenges ahead.

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#18. Nebraska

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 31.33 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 8.69 inches (average: 22.64 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #3 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1915 (35.5 inches of rainfall, 12.86 inches above 100-year average)

Nebraska’s third-wettest year had devastating effects on the state’s agriculture, a central pillar of its economy. Flooding on the Missouri River in particular caused weeds, plant diseases, compacted soil, and other issues that kept a variety of crops from maturing. Unfortunately, heavy annual precipitation rates are projected to continue.

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Cbaile19 // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Pennsylvania

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 50.74 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 8.76 inches (average: 41.98 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #7 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2018 (64.04 inches of rainfall, 22.06 inches above 100-year average)

Just a few months into 2019, rains were so intense across Pennsylvania that it was clear already that crops central to the state’s economy—particularly soybeans, corn, and pumpkins—would likely yield low harvests. For some, this could mean lowering a bushel price from $8 or $9 to $2 or $3. To alleviate the effects of the heavy rainfall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture classified 33 counties across the state as “primary natural disaster areas,” allowing them to apply for emergency loans to make up for economic casualties of the rain.

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pxhere

#16. Kansas

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 36.11 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 9.05 inches (average: 27.06 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #5 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1951 (40.58 inches of rainfall, 13.52 inches above 100-year average)

Spring showers flooded large parts of eastern Kansas, negatively impacting yields for corn and soybeans. Looking forward, summer precipitation is expected to decrease in the state, while winter precipitation is predicted to increase. While the former could have negative effects on summer crop yields, the latter could be beneficial to winter wheat.

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Lynn Betts/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Iowa

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 41.49 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 9.4 inches (average: 32.09 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #10 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1993 (47.88 inches of rainfall, 15.79 inches above 100-year average)

March brought intense rainfall to Iowa that set flooded urban areas, agricultural fields and highways, totaling over $2 billion in damage. So serious was the damage that President Trump declared 56 counties a disaster state that month, allowing them to apply for federal aid. Standing water left over from the floods led to a higher mosquito population the following summer.

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Sharon Mollerus // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Minnesota

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 35.51 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 9.53 inches (average: 25.98 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #1 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2019

A soaked spring and summer caused Minnesota’s many lakes to overflow. Residential areas and farm fields alike were flooded, making harvesting crops difficult: some crops had to be dried before being stored, an expensive undertaking.

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#13. Indiana

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 49.39 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 9.66 inches (average: 39.73 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #7 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2011 (55.2 inches of rainfall, 15.47 inches above 100-year average)

Heavy precipitation rates hit Indiana hard in 2019, negatively impacting the state’s corn harvest. As annual rainfall is expected to increase, Indiana’s economy—which relies heavily on the agricultural industry—may be threatened.

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Tony Hisgett // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Vermont

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 51.4 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 9.67 inches (average: 41.73 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #12 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2011 (58.22 inches of rainfall, 16.49 inches above 100-year average)

Vermont had barely recovered from hefty April rainfall when another round of floods hit in June, causing road closures and power outages. The previous April storms caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, pushing President Trump to declare six counties to be in states of disaster, allowing them to apply for federal aid. Annual rainfall rates are predicted to increase in Vermont, with more frequent and intense floods likely on the way.

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#11. Michigan

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 41.55 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 10.42 inches (average: 31.13 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #1 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2019

So destructive was Michigan’s wettest year in over a century that the state government allocated $15 million in loans to farmers unable to harvest sufficient crop yields. Less than half of the state’s soybean crop could be planted in overly wet soil, and only 63% of its corn crop (as compared to a typical 88%). Increased rainfall is expected to bring springtime floods to Michigan in future years, which will likely have negative effects on the state’s agricultural industry and economy.

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Public Domain Pictures

#10. Oklahoma

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 44.84 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 11 inches (average: 33.84 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #7 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2015 (53.72 inches of rainfall, 19.88 inches above 100-year average)

Heavy rains were both welcomed and bemoaned in Oklahoma, where the Arkansas River basin saw as much as 30 inches of rain. Although ensuing floods damaged residential and agricultural areas, they also alleviated years-long drought conditions in several lakes. As a result, stresses on tourism and the public water supply were alleviated.

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#9. Rhode Island

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 56.88 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 11.73 inches (average: 45.15 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #7 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1972 (63.47 inches of rainfall, 18.32 inches above 100-year average)

Although Rhode Island’s stormwater systems were designed to withstand flash floods, they weren’t engineered to handle steadily heavy rainfall, meaning that a particularly wet 2019 overwhelmed water storage and treatment facilities across the state. Recognizing that the coastal state is prone to “erratic precipitation rates” in the future, the state government is now brainstorming infrastructural changes that can prepare for wetter years ahead.

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inkknife_2000 // Wikimedia Commons

#8. South Dakota

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 31.44 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 12.37 inches (average: 19.07 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #1 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2019

The bulk of precipitation in South Dakota’s wettest year on record came in July, when storms flooded homes, roads, and cities throughout the state. Farmers struggled to plant crops and maintain healthy cattle populations. Anticipated increases in annual rainfall rates are expected to have both positive and negative effects on the state’s agricultural economy. On the one hand, higher precipitation can lead to better soil moisture; on the other hand, however, it can also diminish nutrients in soil and lead to flooded fields.

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Pexels

#7. Illinois

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 49.85 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 12.38 inches (average: 37.47 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #5 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1993 (51.18 inches of rainfall, 13.71 inches above 100-year average)

Heavy rains “drowned” crops in Illinois in 2019, particularly corn and soybeans, as well as caused flash floods and road closures across the state. Both regular precipitation and extreme precipitation events are expected to grow in Illinois, meaning that flash floods in urban areas will increase in risk alongside potential harm to crop yields in rural areas.

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Gary Smith // Flickr

#6. Mississippi

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 67.98 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 12.51 inches (average: 55.47 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #11 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1979 (75.58 inches of rainfall, 20.11 inches above 100-year average)

Mississippi saw alarming flood levels after heavy rains in May, with waters rising to 15.5 feet in some areas. Homes and roads were inundated so heavily that many people had to be rescued by the Mississippi Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. Though the flooding eventually ceased, reverberating effects were still felt on summer crop production.

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vincent desjardins // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Wisconsin

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 44.34 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 13.05 inches (average: 31.29 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #1 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2019

Heavy rains in fall and spring delayed planting for many farmers across Wisconsin, with corn harvests only 74% complete and soybean harvests on 88% complete by early December. With winter and springtime precipitation in particular expected to increase in the state, both corn and soybean yields may decrease by over 25% each in the future.

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pxhere

#4. Missouri

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 53.78 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 13.28 inches (average: 40.5 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #7 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 1973 (57.14 inches of rainfall, 16.64 inches above 100-year average)

Missouri’s position in the low basins of several rivers makes it particularly vulnerable to downstream flooding after heavy rain; widespread storms throughout 2019, therefore, led to high water levels across the state, which were particularly detrimental to the agricultural economy. One memorable flood in June even overtook the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

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CGP Grey // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Kentucky

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 61.28 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901-2000): 14.34 inches (average: 46.94 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895-2019): #5 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2011 (64.35 inches of rainfall, 17.41 inches above 100-year average)

After torrential rains throughout the first half of 2019, Kentucky’s weather took an unprecedented turn in October, veering into one of the worst droughts on record in over a century. Ultimately, wet beat out dry, and 2019 turned out to be the fifth wettest year on record for the state; the drought helped dry out fields to offset precipitation damage to soybean and corn crops. Intense precipitation events are expected to increase in Kentucky as much as droughts are, with erratic forecasts in the future expected to influence the state’s agricultural, industrial, and tourism-based economies.

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#2. Tennessee

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 66.72 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 15.08 inches (average: 51.64 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #2 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2018 (67.14 inches of rainfall, 15.5 inches above 100-year average)

After heavy rains sparked widespread floods across Tennessee in February—causing several people to be rescued by emergency responders—a Level 3 State of Emergency was declared. According to the Tennessee Valley Authority, their reservoir system implemented to protect against flood damage prevented roughly $1.8 billion in additional damage that could have been inflicted.

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OakleyOriginals // Flickr

#1. Arkansas

- 2019 precipitation (Jan. to Dec.): 65.48 inches
- Divergence from 100-year average (1901–2000): 15.87 inches (average: 49.61 inches)
- 2019 rank (1895–2019): #7 wettest year
- Wettest year on record: 2009 (72.2 inches of rainfall, 22.59 inches above 100-year average)

Tropical Storm Barry hit Arkansas in July, bringing flash flooding that forced the evacuation of several residential areas—including the rescue of over 70 dogs from an animal shelter in Clark County. Though roads, highways, and local water sources were flooded, lasting damage has been averted in many cities, thanks to the proactive implementation of efficient drainage systems.

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