At least it has in Anniston in 2013. Through July 4 the National Weather Service has recorded 40.1 inches of rainfall at the Anniston airport this year. That’s almost double the amount of rain the area saw through this time last year, and just four inches shy of 2012’s 12-month total.
“We might top that in the next couple days,” said Aaron Gleason, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Calera. Rain and thunderstorms are expected to continue throughout the weekend.
Gleason said a wet spring, and an already wet summer have kept the area drenched. A storm system to the west of Alabama this summer has trapped moisture in the northeastern part of the state, sending constant rain to Calhoun County.
It means County Engineer Brian Rosenbalm has been busy.
“Right from the get-go this year we got slammed,” said Rosenbalm, who said there have been several road closures throughout the year due to heavy rain. “We’ve been busy checking pipes, putting up signs and trying to clear roads as fast as we can.”
The July 4 weather didn’t do a whole lot of damage to county roads, Rosenbalm said, but he expects with a little more rain this weekend, the work will keep piling up.
“I can see the ground is good and wet in the county,” Rosenbalm said. “If we have a significant amount of rainfall, we’ll have crews out like we always do.”
And while the roads are blocked and the parks might not be full of children so far this summer, it hasn’t seemed to have an effect on shopping, said Nancy King Dennis, public relations director for the Alabama Retail Association.
“Typically the rain keeps people indoors,” Dennis said. “But retail numbers have been up this year, so it doesn’t seem to be having any significant impact.”
Dennis said rain can hit areas of heavy tourism hard, but in places like Anniston and the surrounding county, the effect is less drastic.
“People aren’t going to impulse buy, but they still need to go out and go grocery shopping, that kind of thing,” Dennis said. “That’s not going to change.”
Since the Weather Service began keeping local records in 1903, the rainiest year recorded in Anniston was 1975, when 69.1 inches fell. And while 2013 would seem to be on pace to surpass that total, Gleason said it’s not easy to guess weather patterns.
“We’re on pace to have higher than normal rainfall, but whether or not we break any records, I don’t know,” Gleason said. “Sometimes you have very dry seasons following wet seasons. If someone told me even a month ago we’d be having this much rain and temperatures in the 70s in Anniston in July, I would have laughed at you.”
If the rain keeps coming, Anniston’s 2013 precipitation totals would make it among the wettest in the country. A study published earlier this year by The Climate Corporation, based in San Francisco, collected National Weather Service data from the last 30 years and determined Mobile was the wettest city in the country, averaging 68 inches of annual rainfall.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.