WRUF Weather

Gainesville sets all-time mark for July with record-shattering rainfall on last day

An already rainy month was capped off with a record-breaking finish Wednesday in Gainesville.  The city went from fourth to first on the all-time list in a matter of hours, and on the very last day.  Even if a single drop of rain didn’t fall Wednesday, July 2013 would have went down as the fourth rainiest on record, but it didn’t take long for Gainesville to top the list thanks to a severe thunderstorm that stalled over the city for nearly three hours.

Courtesy NOAA: Estimates on rainfall for the entire month of July. Areas in pink received over 12 inches.

The National Weather Service in Jacksonville says the monthly total for July 2013 at the Gainesville Regional Airport was 16.65″, nearly a quarter of an inch more than the old record set back in 1909 (16.41″).  July 2013 also became the second wettest of any month since records have been kept in Gainesville.  During the past thirty days, the city has also broken two daily rainfall records, the most notable of which being Wednesday’s 3.55″ that shattered the previous record set in 1996 of 2.62 inches.  The daily rainfall record for the 23rd was also broken with an amount of 1.88″.  Records date back to 1890 for Gainesville, and its interesting to note that many years’ totals were heavily influenced by tropical storms or hurricanes.  This was certainly not the case this year.

July 2013 will go down in the history books as the wettest July on record without so much as a tropical depression moving within 100 miles of the city.  Of course the remnants of Tropical Storm Chantal contributed to the overall rainfall total during the second week, but the main cause of this month’s rain has been the position of the jet stream. For most of July, the jet stream has been displaced further south in the eastern US than what is usual for summer. This opened the door for several pieces of energy and cooler air aloft to dig down into The Southeast, setting up a continuous southwest flow out of the Gulf of Mexico, greatly increasing the moisture content and instability in the lower levels of the atmosphere across north Florida. The result was periods of heavy rain and longer-lasting thunderstorms that what is normal for Florida’s rainy season.

Flooding on Wednesday near the corner of University and 13th Street in Gainesville. Courtesy: The Alligator


Courtesy of the National Weather Service-Jacksonville, compiled by UF Forecaster Chani Morris
  1. 16.61″ – 2013
  2. 16.41″ – 1909
  3. 15.03″ – 1921
  4. 14.45″ – 1924
  5. 12.71″ – 1898
  6. 12.63″ – 1950
  7. 12.18″ – 1964
  8. 12.12″ – 1960
  9. 11.90″ – 1955
  10. 11.18″ – 1935

If you think 16 inches of rain is a lot of water, you’re correct.  Many cities around the world don’t even see that much rain in an entire year.  The following list was compiled by UF Forecaster Dan Henry and the data comes from each country’s governing meteorology agency.


Lima, Peru – 0.5″
Cairo – 1.0″
Riyadh – 3.7″
Dubai – 3.7″
Las Vegas, NV – 4.2″
Phoenix, AZ – 7.1″
El Paso, TX – 7.8″
Sana’a, Yemen, 7.8″
Tehran – 9.1″
Santiago, Chile – 12.3″
Billings, MT – 13.9″
Denver, CO – 15.0″
Los Angeles, CA – 15.1″
Madrid (Airport) -15.2″
Cheyenne, WY – 15.9″
Ankara, Turkey – 16.0″
Anchorage, AK – 16.1″
Salt Lake City, UT – 16.1″
Rapid City, SD – 16.3″
Spokane, WA – 16.6″

WRUF Weather would be interested to know your rainfall reports.  Always feel free to email those to us at weather@wruf.com, or tweet them to us @WRUFWeather.

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