People love weather extremes, so the frequent heavy rains we’ve gotten in New England mean everybody wonders: “Is it a record?”

The problem with that question is how do you measure it? Total precipitation over some arbitrary period is the usual method but that can get affected by a big Nor’easter sweeping through and dumping a bucketload of moisture all at once. A better quantification of the “holy cow it sure has rained a lot lately!” feeling is percentage of days with measurable precipitation.

By that measure yes, it was a record in Concord, where where official state weather tallies are taken at the municipal airport. The Northeast Regional Climate Center says the city had 20 days with measurable precipitation, the most for any July on record and second-most for any month at all. (I live an hour south of Concord and had rain on more than 17 days in July – I was on vacation for the final week so all I got was the total accumulation during that period, not individual days’ tallies.)

It turns out, however, that we didn’t need to think of a different metric because the Climate Center also reports that 13.04″ of rain fell in Concord during July compared to an average of 3.82″ – a whopping 360% above the 20-year normal! That’s the biggest percentage difference of any city in the Northeast (which extends down to West Virginia by their definition). Worcester, Mass., was almost as overly wet, going 352% above the normal.

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