An especially rainy spring and fall made 2019 the third wettest year ever recorded in Chicago, according to the National Weather Service.
Chicago saw 49.54 inches of accumulated precipitation in 2019, the weather service said. That makes it the third wettest year in the city since meteorologists began keeping track in 1871, behind the 49.83 inches of precipitation in 2011 and 50.86 inches in 2008.
Since 2008, Chicago has seen four of its five wettest years on record, the weather service said.
The precipitation that fell over the last few days pushed 2019 into the top 5 wettest years on record in Chicago! 2019 is now Chicago's 3rd wettest year on record, only trailing 2008 and 2011. Out of the last 12 years, 4 of them are now among Chicago's top 5 wettest years! pic.twitter.com/DgNr0Bst4A— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) December 31, 2019
Heavy rains in the spring and fall were primarily responsible for last year’s accumulation, according to weather service meteorologist Todd Kluber.
Though research shows that climate change may favor heavier precipitation in the area moving forward, there is not yet enough data to conclusively say it’s the reason for the increase in wetness, Kluber said.
“You can see a trend in the data, and if we continue to see that then maybe we could have more confidence in saying there’s a trend,” Kluber said.
The new year is expected to start on a dry note, with clear skies and temperatures in the low 40s Wednesday, according to weather service forecasts. The first precipitation may come Thursday night, when there is a 50% chance of rain to go along with a low of about 36 degrees.