So how much rain has the Smokies received this year? It seems like an awful lot, or is it just our collective imagination?
To answer that question I compiled some data to compare this year against the long term averages. The graph below shows monthly precipitation amounts for Mt. LeConte in 2013. Monthly precipitation amounts for January through July were taken from the Weather Warehouse. August data was derived from the NOAA National Weather Service page. Both sources, I assume, receive their data from the observation station at the Mt. LeConte Lodge.
I then compared this data with the long-term monthly averages for Gatlinburg and Clingmans Dome, as reported on the Great Smoky Mountains website. Please note that the data for Mt. LeConte really isn't comparable against the Gatlinburg figures (due to differences in elevation), but certainly is against the Clingmans Dome data.
So are the Smoky Mountains really having substantially more rain this year as compared to the past. The answer is absolutely!
Although the late winter months were more drier than normal, the rest of the year has been much wetter - especially during the months of January, June and July. Although August has been a little drier than normal, there have been 17 days (so far) where Mt. LeConte has received at least some precipitation. On average, Clingmans Dome normally has only 12 days of rain during the month of August. Keep in mind, however, that the August data for Mt. LeConte reflects only the first 25 days of the month, whereas the Clingmans Dome figures reflect the entire month - so we still have a few more days to possibly add to the current totals.
In total, Clingmans Dome normally receives 58 inches of precipitation during the first 8 months of the year. To date, Mt. LeConte has already received 76.7 inches!
Hiking in the Smokies