Oklahoma City has had more rain this year than traditionally wet cities like Miami and Seattle — nearly double the average amount through mid-August.
The rain and accompanying cooler temperatures have been welcomed by many after two straight sweltering and dry summers, but it's not without drawbacks.
Some residents have had a hard time keeping up with mowing, and torrential downpours have brought flooding that has caused millions of dollars in damage.
Flooding causes damage
At this time last year, much of the state was in the midst of extreme drought, including Oklahoma City. Gary McManus, of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said it has rained somewhere in Oklahoma every day since July 12.
The rain has brought relief from the drought. Oklahoma City was subject to mandatory water rationing last summer, but with more than 40 inches of rain thus far in 2013, city lakes are full and water is plentiful.
But the city also suffered major flood damage after a May 31 storm that brought more than 10 inches of rain in one night.
Several city buildings were flooded. The worst damage was in the city's technology building at 100 N Walker Ave., which has been closed since the flood.
“I've never walked into a building and seen that much water,” city spokesman Zach Nash said. “It was up to the ceiling in the basement. You couldn't walk down the stairwell. Not only was it water, there was mud and debris. It was very shocking.”
City Clerk Frances Kersey said the damage estimate for city buildings other than 100 N Walker is $7.5 million. Insurance will cover damage to the technology building, but the city will have to pay a $1.25 million deductible.
Kersey said those damage estimates could go higher as work continues.
Nash said in addition to the damage to the building, the flooding caused logistical nightmares as staff had to be shuffled around after the Friday night storm.
“The staff reacted quickly,” Nash said. “They relocated everyone by Monday. It was a huge undertaking.”
Wet conditions to continue
The rain has meant extra yard work for homeowners. The dry, hot conditions the past two summers killed off many lawns. Grass is lush and green this year and business is booming for lawn companies.
Cheryl Wilson, of Oklahoma City, said she has enjoyed the cooler temperatures this summer and is thankful for the rain.
“It's meant a lot more mowing, though,” Wilson said. “I'm not the one doing the mowing, but I have to pay for it.”
Wilson went from having her lawn mowed twice a month at most the past two summers to twice a week this summer.
The rain also has kept crews busy mowing government property and the grass along roads and highways. City officials said it has been hard to keep up.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Jonathan Kurtz said this has been the sixth wettest year on record for Oklahoma City.
“From the pattern we are in it is staying fairly active,” Kurtz said. “We will probably have some rain in the metro through late Friday morning.”
Kurtz said city residents can expect more rain in the coming weeks.
“It's kind of hard to tell through the end of the year,” Kurtz said. “Predicting that far ahead is tough. But there is nothing on the horizon that indicates a change in the pattern.”