Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 8, 2013

Record rainfall in Traverse City for October's first week

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Multiple days of rain showered northwest Michigan with more than just flooded roadways and damp basements:

Downpours that frustrated restless schoolchildren and trapped homeowners inside for the first weekend of October also set a record for the most rain during that stretch.

“This is no small potatoes as far as what we’ve seen,” said Keith Berger, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gaylord. “It was the wettest first seven days of October on record.”

A total of 3.77 inches of rain fell at the weather service recording station at the Cherry Capital Airport during that week, the most recorded during the seven-day period since 1911, Berger said.

“We still have 23 days left to go,” he said, adding that the total rainfall for the month already is 0.53 above normal.

The rain began Thursday and fell with the greatest intensity that day and again Saturday, according to Weather Service records.

There were sporadic reports of flooded streets in a few areas in and around Traverse City. One of those reports was posted on Facebook by Grand Traverse 911 on Sunday at about 3 a.m.

The report warned drivers to avoid a section of Lautner Road near Bunker Hill Road because of water across the road.

Grand Traverse County Road Commission workers fought debris that clogged culverts along the road for about six hours, said Toby Javin, road commission superintendent.

In other areas, workers addressed gravel roads and gravel shoulders that washed out during heavy rain. The volume of rain that fell in such a short period of time was biggest challenge for road crews, Javin said.

“They seem to want to come in the 1- to 2-inch range,” he said. “That makes it very difficult.”

Berger said his agency heard a few reports of minor flooding across the region.

“There was a little bit of nuisance flooding,” he said. “As far as any actual damage, our good sandy soils pretty much soaked it up as quickly as it fell.”

September usually is the wettest month of the year and October typically is the runner-up, Berger said.

And it’s probably moisture the region could use after a relatively dry September, he added.

“Getting rainy periods during the fall isn’t particularly abnormal,” he said. “We always like to makeup rainfall. But it would be nice if it didn’t happen over three days.”

Traverse City wasn’t the wettest town in the region. Pellston recorded 4.41 inches of rain during the same string of rainstorms.