Lake City, you're all wet - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Lake City, you're all wet

Record rains pour down on Coeur d'Alene

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Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 12:00 am

It's very likely that sometime this year - maybe in the fall, when downpours rampaged leaf piles, or in the spring, when people saw their vegetable gardens had flooded again - you found yourself thinking, "I don't remember Coeur d'Alene being this wet before."

That's because it never has been.

Thanks to the latest rain dumping down this week, Coeur d'Alene has drowned its prior record for highest yearly precipitation.

After a storm early Wednesday morning, Coeur d'Alene had soaked up a total 38.87 inches of precipitation for the year so far, surpassing the 1996 record of 38.77 inches for the entire year.

A normal year of precipitation here is 26.77 inches.

"This type of pattern has been quite something over the past 12 months," said Coeur d'Alene climatologist Cliff Harris, who blamed the damp conditions on the La Nada weather pattern. "We've had the wettest spring on record, which included the wettest March on record and the wettest June on record."

All the rain even canceled out a record-breaking, mid-summer drought, he added.

And we might not be done yet.

With temperatures on the cusp of dropping, Harris predicted more inches of moisture as soon as today or Friday, only now in the form of snowflakes.

"We've got nearly four weeks left of this month, and we'll add to this record with every drop of rain or snow," Harris said, predicting the area will accumulate over 40 inches before the new year. "This would be first year since 1895 at least that we'll be above 40 inches of precipitation."

Despite probably giving us vitamin D deficiencies, all that cloudy, soggy weather has left most residents with cheery attitudes.

"I prefer the rain over snow, because I don't have to shovel it off my driveway," reasoned Coeur d'Alene resident Emily McMullin, moseying past the North Idaho College campus on Wednesday.

She didn't even mind that some of the year's major events, like the Coeur d'Alene Christmas parade, were unusually drizzly.

There's at least an advantage to it all, McMullin pointed out.

"The greenery is obviously amazing," the Coeur d'Alene woman pointed out.

Her friend Josh Nelson admitted that the months of downpours made an interesting environment for cycling outdoors, one of his chief modes of transportation.

"I always showed up to places with a wet stripe up my back," the 20-year-old said with a laugh.

He didn't mind at all, he said.

"I love being out in the rain," Nelson said. "There's something primitive and primal about it. A kind of feral sense of being."

Anne Nesse, strolling by Lake Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday, said she worries what this year's weather extremes indicate about bigger patterns.

"Nine out of 10 climatologists are telling you that you can't deny global warming anymore," Nesse said, adding that our heavy rain could be tied to it. "Whether this year is an example of that, one could debate that."

That said, Nesse didn't mind the monsoon-like weather, she said. Clad in a wide-brimmed hat and knee-high boots, she said enduring rain is all about preparation.

"I think the weather is always something to work around," Nesse said, adding, "I ordered a poncho yesterday."

David Moseley was thinking similarly on Wednesday afternoon, as he rinsed off his snow tires in galoshes and a rain coat.

"It made me put off things I had to do until days like today, when it's not raining," Moseley said of the rain's impacts on him. "I just stayed indoors. I had enough to do inside it wasn't a problem."

Staying indoors unfortunately wasn't an option for mail carrier Saylee Myers, who hustled door to door on her route on Wednesday.

Many of her deliveries this year were made tromping through waves of rain, Myers acknowledged. But she would rather schlep through water than skid on ice, the Coeur d'Alene woman said.

"You just pack everything and your kitchen sink in the car. A change of clothes and extra gear," Myers advised for delivering mail in a downpour. "The other day when there was all that rain, I went through three jackets and two pairs of boots."

Like the others, Myers couldn't bring herself to condemn the rain.

"I'd rather walk out and deliver in stuff that's going to beautify," she said. "We get plenty of water and plenty of green. So I'm game."

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