Talk over the weekend after the huge rain centered around living through a one in 100 year rain event. That means a rain and flood of that magnitude should only happen once in 100 years. Of course, that implies 'on average.' Mother Nature never reads the history book.
When the final totals filtered into the Indiana state ag climatologist office, the data was more staggering than even first believed. Edinburgh, Ind., at the corner of Johnson, Shelby and Bartholomew Counties, set the record, with 17.94 inches for the week ending June 8. And another I inch plus fell on June 9-10!
The single-day official total for Edinburgh was 9.95 inches. Gosport in Morgan County reported 9.85 inches on the same day. The two are roughly in line with each other west to east, only some 40 miles apart.
Now the National Weather Service is calling this one in 1,000 year rain events! Who could still be around to challenge what they say?
Anecdotal evidence makes it believable. One long-time highway worker who assists state highway engineers was aghast to find out that at least two interstates were closed due to high water, one for an extended period. This person reported that when interstates are built, they are supposedly designed so that such flooding capable of closing the interstate could not happen. It's doubtful they're designed to withstand 1,000 year floods!
Dev Nyogi, state climatologist, doesn't provide much help in the long-term forecast. Although official National Weather Service long-term maps put Indiana in the slightly cool but equal chances for wet or dry categories through July, the climatologist says it's likely stormy, wet weather could continue through July.
He says it's likely due to the La Nina event, which although diminishing, was still underway in mid-June. Timing makes all the difference on these events. If timing was different, it could have brought a dry summer. That's why Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University ag climatologist, earlier predicted that the risk of drought was up. Naturally, since the summer isn't over, it's too early to write off his interpretation just yet.
What the La Nina has been responsible for is stormy weather patterns extending into mid-June, Indiana's ag climatologist says. Even once the La Nina event ends, there is a lag time before the next phase develops, or at least before the effects are felt here in the center of North America.
All that translated means the bumpy ride of '08 might not be over yet.