Explaining the raining: why Siouxland got soaked

Alex Van Den Top – Staff Writer

SIOUX CENTER, IA – The Siouxland area has been plagued with record-breaking amounts of rain, spurring massive amounts of flooding in the Rock and Floyd rivers. This has caused problems with railway systems that get covered with floodwaters.

John Slegers, Director of Media for KDCR, tracks weather patterns along with his news-related duties. Slegers theorizes there are a couple of determining factors when considering the high amounts of rainfall accumulated over the past four months.

“I think what we’ve seen is our jet stream is a little further south than it normally is,” Slegers said. “Where you get the jet stream is also where you get the clash of weather systems, and it usually drops down toward our area in the fall.”

According to Sleger, there’s also El Niño to consider, which brings complex weather systems to whatever area it surrounds. The warming of the equator can also bring crazy and unpredictable weather changes, but he sees it as a longshot to assume it’s involved here.

“The typical pattern is wet follows wet,” Slegers explained. “You would need a big chart busting weather system to break up a long range wet pattern like we’ve been having.” It works the same way for dry weather: Drought systems typically last for 30 to 50 years.

Taking a broader look at the weather spectrum, John sees a trend of warmer weather moving upward, though this data is inconclusive. Slegers said to watch for the overnight lows in the winter, they’ve typically been getting warmer and warmer over the past 15 years. Frost doesn’t get as deep under this trend, which can bring weed systems up farther north right into the Corn Belt, a major problem for farmers.

For now, though, it looks like the rain is going to keep on coming.

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