By: ES

Thanks to the colossal heavy rain event of September 12th, Wichita set several rainfall records. Among them were: Greatest 24-hour total, greatest calendar day total and wettest September.

On September 12th, heavy rains were forecast for South-Central Kansas, but it's doubtful anyone could have imagined the magnitude of the rains that occurred. On that date, widespread rainfalls of 5-10 inches drenched much of South-Central Kansas, with a band of 10-12 inches stretching from Southwest Sedgwick to North-Central Sedgwick County near the Harvey County line that cut right through the west, northwest, and north sides of Wichita where hundreds, if not thousands, of people living along or near the Cowskin Creek had to be evacuated. In fact, a colossal 11.57 inches were measured at the Cowskin Creek gage while 11.51 inches were measured at the Floodway gage near the Sedgwick County Zoo. The satellite communites of Goddard and Valley Center measured 9.45 inches and 9.25 inches, respectively. (See Image 1)

For example, Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport was deluged by a staggering 10.31 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. This inundated the previous 24 hour record of 7.99 inches set way back on September 6th and 7th, 1911. By the time the 12th had handed off the baton to the 13th, September, 2008 had already become the wettest September on record with 12.41 inches measured to that date. This left 1999, the previous September record-holder with 10.69 inches, in it's wake by 1.72 inches. In fact, by this same time, September, 2008 had become the 4th wettest month on record with still 18 days remaining!

On the 13th, another 0.53 inch had been measured, bringing the monthly total to 12.94 inches. On the 14th, after letting the faucet run almost full-throttle for nearly two days, Nature finally turned off the spigot. In fact, from the 14th to the end of the month, only 0.02 inch of rain was measured, thereby enabling South-Central Kansas to dry out.

The following is a water log of the rainfall statistics and records set in September, 2008 for Wichita Mid-Continent Airport:

GREATEST 24-HOUR: 10.31 INCHES. (Previous record: 7.99 inches September 6th & 7th, 1911)
GREATEST SEPTEMBER TOTAL: 12.96 INCHES. (Previous record: 10.69 inches in 1999)
4th WETTEST MONTH EVER. Surpassed only by June, 1923 (14.43 inches), July, 1950 (13.37 inches) and May, 2008 (13.14 inches).
4th WETTEST FALL: Surpassed only by 1998 (15.87 inches), 1973 (13.80 inches) and 1985 (13.15 inches).

This story was brought to you by the National Weather Service - Wichita, Kansas.

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