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The summer of 2010 will go down as a very wet one in northwest Wisconsin, with above average rainfall across most of the Northland. Quite a few rounds of thunderstorms and heavy rain started affecting the area in May, and continued through September. Things have quieted down some in the last week of September and the first few days of October.
As a quick illustration of the rainy summer, consider the following:
To keep the numbers in perspective, note that most of northwest Wisconsin only averages 30 to 32 inches of precipitation for an entire year, and more rain fell in a span of 5 months in most of those areas this summer.
This rainfall was especially notable because of the extended period of drought and rainfall deficits that had plagued northern Wisconsin for the past few years. Below is a graph of a running rainfall surplus/deficit starting at the beginning of 2003 at Winter, Wisconsin. You can see that an extended period of rainfall deficits took hold in 2004, and lasted through the early part of 2010, before rebounding sharply this summer.
Because of the abundant rainfall this summer, many of the lakes and bodies of water that had been running much lower than normal are reported to be at levels closer to normal across most of the area.
Notes: the map at the top of the page was created using NWS cooperative observer network rainfall data and GIS software. The contoured colors are interpolated from the point data, and may not necessarily represent the actual observation at each point, but should be a fairly good estimate across the entire area.