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Posted on Thu, May 26, 2011 : 9:21 a.m.

2011 is now the wettest spring on record in Ann Arbor; flood warning still in effect, more rain expected

By Cindy Heflin


Cars try to make it through standing water on South Fifth Avenue after heavy rains Wednesday. Driving through standing water can be dangerous, safety experts warn.

Melanie Maxwell |

Read more local weather coverage here.

It’s now one for the record books. The spring of 2011 is officially the wettest spring on record in Ann Arbor.

The heavens dumped 3.48 inches of rain on the University of Michigan’s north campus weather station in the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m. this morning. That’s where University of Michigan weather observer Dennis Kahlbaum collects rainfall totals and reports them to the National Weather Service.

Ann Arbor has received 16.66 inches of precipitation in March, April and May, beating the old record of 16.61 inches set in 1943, Kahlbaum said this morning.

The 24-hour rainfall total ranks as the sixth highest on record. The highest was 4.54 on Aug. 6 in 1998. Though the one-day total wasn’t a record, it still ranks as a 25-year storm, Kahlbaum said, meaning that much rain is only expected to fall in a 24-hour period once every 25 years.

And while that’s an impressive statistic, because of the intensely local nature of thunderstorms, other areas around Washtenaw County and even Ann Arbor likely received even higher rain totals, Kahlbaum said, some possibly more than 4 inches.

Wednesday’s storms brought flooded roads, a lightning strike that closed Ann Arbor’s Northside Elementary School and a few downed tree limbs. But it caused no major power outages or other problems, according to DTE Energy and local law enforcement officials.

For the month of May, the Ann Arbor area has received 6.49 inches of rain, the sixth-highest total for the month. The record was set in 1943, when Ann Arbor received 10.49 inches.

More wet weather is in store for the area today and a flood warning remains in effect until 11:30 p.m. But relief is in sight. Summer-like conditions are expected for the weekend.

The forecast calls for scattered light showers through 11 a.m., then periods of showers and thunderstorms with a high of about 68. Tonight, showers are likely.

Friday, it will be mostly cloudy with a chance of showers in the late afternoon and a high near 60.

Things will start to improve Saturday, when the forecast calls for partly sunny skies by midmorning, but there’s still a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs will be in the 70s. Sunday and Monday the weather turns hot, with highs in the 80s and mostly sunny skies.




Thu, May 26, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

That's funny. Just yesterday I read: "As for statistics, although no one would dispute we've had a lot of wet days this spring, a lot more water would be required to set any records. University of Michigan Weather observer Dennis Kahlbaum said the wettest spring on record in the Ann Arbor area was in 1943, when 16.61 inches of water fell." That didn't take long.

John B.

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

About twenty-four hours. Plus, that (new) number includes rainfall up until 7 a.m. this morning. We've received more since then, and aren't done yet. We have a pond behind our home, and I've never seen it this high, regardless of the time of year.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

Despite the soggy spring we have had & the inconvenience of excess water. Think of our poor neighbors in Missouri without a house or even loved ones AND in the same storms as we have. Give to the Red Cross!


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

I was wondering what a 25 year storm is? " still ranks as a 25-year storm, Kahlbaum said" If Climate change was happin' wouldn't the weather be getting HOTTER or COLDER, WETTER or DRYER? This sounds like it is weather as usual! OOOOOPS!

Lisa Bashert

Fri, May 27, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

If you check the records, it IS getting hotter. The last two decades are the hottest on record ever.


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 1:44 a.m.

Um, "wettest spring in recorded history" would qualify as wetter, I think.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Just as you are driving along the streets notice all the clogged drains! Why does not A2 (City of) get them cleaned out? Water cannot run down drains stuffed with debris. Does not make much sense to me. Also Pittsfield does not clean out the drains on Ellsworth Road either. You built them. Take care of the maintenance of them!


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

I saw a street sweeper in NE A2 just last week.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

I suspect, but don't know for sure, that they've delayed the start of the annual street sweeping/drain cleaning due to budget issues. It seems like in the past the first sweeping started in April, but I saw my first street sweepers today, nearly June.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 8 p.m.

This is an example of smaller government at work.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

You know Arieswoman when I cut the grass at my house every week I also clean the grate over the drain when I'm out there blowing the grass off my driveway. Takes less then 1 minute per week. What doesn't make sense to me is to have the city come out and do that. Oh and they built the drains for us! The least we could do is take care of them.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

It sounds like this is part of of that pesky climate change that the paid Democrats bloggers say does exist. Oops.

John B.

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

It sounds like this is part of of that pesky climate change that the paid Republican bloggers say doesn't exist. Oops.

Lisa Bashert

Fri, May 27, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> -- It's happening. We all need help to accept this difficult truth.

Rod Johnson

Fri, May 27, 2011 : 3:20 a.m.

How convenient for you. But just take the misplaced parenthesis off the end of the URL and it works fine.


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

Nice try. That link goes nowhere. Better call Al Gore and tell him his internet is broken again.


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

That was over twenty years ago. (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> You know, just in case you missed it, Reagan isn't in office anymore either.


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 12:09 a.m.

Climate change? I thought it was global warming. When did the name change?

John A2

Thu, May 26, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

Ann Arbors flooded before. Your car is made to stand heavy rain but it's not a boat. You can't drive in standing water higher then six or seven inches unless you are willing to chance complete engine break down. Snow is not a factor in this case, because it's not standing water yet. The air filter will block snow as much as it can and the engine will keep firing as long as it does not get to much liquid. a little humidity actually give a little more combustion. On the same note, you don't want your muffler submerged either.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

Cool! If we're gonna get dumped on this much we might as well break the record and have bragging rights.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Is this still the case if you take into consideration all forms of precipitation? Snowmelts can make the ground quite soggy and wet.


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

NIce picture. Unsafe yes, more likely costly. Do NOT do this. I'm surprised that car made it through without hyrdolocking the engine. Water is not a compressible fluid like air and if you suck any of it into your intake, you can expect bent rods and a major overhaul.