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It’s been the third wettest July ever recorded, and the month is only half over

Photo IllustrationRyan Huddle

June broke records because it was so hot. So far July has been cool and unusually wet, something that comes as no surprise to Massachusetts residents who have seen an unending series of sprinkles, showers, and dramatic downpours in recent days.

As of Monday, it was already the third wettest July ever recorded in Boston, according to the National Weather Service. With the help of Tropical Storm Elsa’s drenching last week, nearly 9 inches of rain had been recorded at Logan International Airport by Monday afternoon.

The only wetter Julys were in 1921 and 1938, with 11.69 inches and 9.45 inches, respectively. Records go back to 1872. And the month isn’t even half over yet.


“It’s pretty remarkable in the first 12 days that we are the third wettest July ever from 1872 to now,” said weather service meteorologist Kristie Smith. “It’s been one for the ducks and perhaps not one for people hoping to do outside activities.”

What’s a normal rainfall for July? The 30-year average for the month of July is 3.27 inches, Smith said. So we’re way ahead of normal already.

Here’s another measure of how rainy it’s been: It’s rained every day of this month. Friday, when Elsa swept through the region, saw more than 2 inches fall in Boston, the largest total of the month. The smallest amount was a “trace” amount on July 5, meaning there was some precipitation but it was too small to be measured.

“We just kind of locked into this pattern where it’s conducive to rain,” said weather service meteorologist Bill Simpson. “Each individual day is not record-breaking by any means. This is just kind of a prolonged weather pattern.”

Simpson said there’s more rain ahead. “There could be showers any day for the next four days,” he said. “The wet pattern continues through this workweek.”


The rainy, cooler weather comes after June set the record for average monthly temperature. As climate change progresses, heavy rainfall events are becoming more frequent in Massachusetts and across the region.

According to the US National Climate Assessment, between 1958 and 2010 the Northeast saw more than a 70 percent increase in rainfall from very heavy events, a trend that is expected to continue.

The heavy rain caused flooding in parts of Massachusetts on Monday. In Lynn, knee-deep floodwaters stranded several drivers on the road. The Charles River reached flood stage of 5.0 feet in Dover around 7:45 a.m. and was expected to crest at 5.2 feet before receding.

A flood warning remained in place for the Charles River in low-lying areas in Needham and a small area on the South Natick and Wellesley line, the National Weather Service said. Forecasters had warned of minor flooding on the Shawsheen River in Lawrence and North Andover but canceled the advisory by midafternoon, saying the river had dropped below flood stage and additional flooding was not expected.

Forecasters also canceled flash flood watches that covered most of Massachusetts, as well as Rhode Island and parts of Connecticut.

Sabrina Shankman of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com. John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.