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A Year of Heavy Rainfall

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NOAA's National Climatic Data Center's preliminary annual data indicates that an abundant amount of moisture moving north from the Gulf of Mexico helped the Northeastern part of the nation have an all-time wettest year.

The Northeast received 51.66 inches of rain and snow water equivalent precipitation during 1996. The Pacific Northwest was also pounded with abundant North Pacific ocean storms that helped set a new record of 37.85 inches. Details on this are outlined in our technical report entitled The Winter of '96-'97 West Coast Flooding. Also in the West, the states of Oregon and Idaho set all time precipitation records; while Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and West Virginia also recorded the most rain and snow in a single year. New York state had the second wettest year on record.

For the nation as a whole, 1996 averaged 32.32 inches of precipitation making the year the fifth wettest since national records began back in 1895.

The national average temperature last year was 52.3 degrees Fahrenheit, close to the normal of 52.4. Of the 102 years of record keeping, 1996 ranks 47th on a scale where 1 is the coldest and 102 is the hottest.

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