This week’s Two Degree Difference combines our warming climate with increased precipitation. It’s a timely topic especially as we are entering mud season in the North Country and Upper Valley. We already know that our winter time temperatures have warmed in nearly every community across the country over the last handful of decades. Did you know that with the increase in temperatures also comes an increase in the amount of downpours and 1 inch rainfalls in the United States? The dramatic increase in downpours resulting in 1″ rainfall events compared to average has increased 110% over the last half century. What does this mean on a local level?

It means that Burlington has also seen an uptick in heavy precipitation days dating back to the early 1950s. There has been a steady rise in days with 1 inch or more of precipitation in the Queen City. In the 1950s, we average 4 days of heavy precipitation. Nowadays, it’s more between 6-8 days. Average days of heavy precipitation can take a toll on crops, travel conditions, and even mud season. For example, take our most recent warm up, ice/snow melt, and combine it with our heavy rainfall from over the weekend. You get one of the worst mud seasons in recent memory. Precipitation is a double edged sword when it comes to positive and negative impacts. Overall, the trend of heavy rainfall events are something we will have to monitor closely as flooding is always a big deal in the Green Mountain State during any time of the year.