There’s no doubt this spring has been a rainy one, with showers and downpours seeming like an almost daily occurrence. And it doesn’t appear to be coming to an end anytime soon.
“For the most part, we’ve had close to twice the amount of normal rainfall,” said Barry Keim, state climatologist.
From April 1 through May 29, the state has gotten an average 16.53 inches of rain, which is about 6.5 inches above normal. In southeast Louisiana, the average rainfall for the two months was 19.3 inches, which is 9.8 inches above normal, he said.
“I would argue that at least some of this is related to El Niño,” Keim said. There is a tendency for Louisiana to get more spring rain during an El Niño year.
El Niño is a weather condition in which equatorial waters in the Atlantic Ocean are slightly warmer than normal, affecting large areas of weather patterns. A benefit of an El Niño is that during the summer months, it also increases winds in the upper atmosphere, and that can help dampen the formation of tropical storms or keep storms from getting stronger.
This spring, it means more rain at places like the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which measured 20.7 inches of rain — 11.4 inches more than normally falls there in April and May.
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport recorded just 14 inches of rain, about 3.5 inches over normal levels for April and May.
In Lafayette, the airport recorded only 3 inches above normal rainfall, but another area in town reported 19.3 inches of rain, which is 9 inches above normal.
The good news is that the drought conditions that lingered in Louisiana heading into April no longer exist, thanks to the consistent rainfall, Keim said.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, during the week ending April 14, about 37 percent of the state was in some kind of drought condition. By the next week, that was down to zero.
Even better news is that although there have been some localized flooding and power outages with some of the storms in south Louisiana, rivers in southeast Louisiana seem to be keeping up. As of Friday, only the Tangipahoa River at Robert showed water levels getting up to minor flood level, which means some minor flooding near the river, according to the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center.
In southwest Louisiana, several areas along the Calcasieu River are in minor flood stage.
North Louisiana rivers are much more active, especially the Red River. In Shreveport, the Red River could get close to major flood stage of 33 feet by June 3, possibly leading to some flooded roads, according to the forecast center.
“Some of the heavier rains we’ve seen are up in north Louisiana,” Keim said. “North Louisiana definitely got hit harder than the south.”
The chance of rain continues through the weekend and into next week.
But it could be worse.
“Fortunately, we’re not experiencing what’s been going on in Oklahoma and Texas,” Keim said.
Follow Amy Wold on Twitter, @awold10.