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Despite the frequent storms, June rainfall normal

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | 5:59 p.m. CDT; updated 9:04 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2014

COLUMBIA — It might seem as if  the thunderstorms just won't stop, but it turns out June's rainfall was right on track.

The 5.07 inches of rain that fell in June was 0.6 inches more than the 30-year norm for the month, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service's records show that the average is 4.47 inches.

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June 2014 was a lot rainier than the same month last year, however, when only 2.05 inches fell.

MU climatologist Tony Lupo thinks the increased rainfall could be due in part to a change in the ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation) cycle, which consists of of three phases: El Nino, La Nina and neutral.

Right now we're in the neutral phase, transitioning into El Nino, Lupo said.

El Nino is the warming of the Pacific Ocean current along the coast of Peru and Ecuador that occurs every three to seven years, according to the National Weather Service. La Nina, its counterpart, is a cooling of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific.

"La Nina was partly responsible for the drought in 2012," Lupo said in a news release.

The transition to El Nino will "impact the path of jet streams, which storms tend to follow," Lupo said. These "rivers of air" should lead to more rainfall for the Midwest and Columbia in the coming months.

Jim Keeney of the National Weather Service agrees and said he expects normal amounts of rainfall in the future.

July in Columbia is predicted to be normal in terms of rainfall, about 3.5 to 4 inches, Lupo said. And the month appears to be off to a mild start. The weather service forecast calls for highs in the 70s through Thursday, then sunny with highs in the 80s on the Fourth of July.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.


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