DFW: 2015 is the wettest year on record for Dallas/Fort Worth

Rainfall Records for DFW (Since Records Began)

2018: Rainfall so far this year

DFW Records Summary:

  • 2015 is the wettest year on record (rainfall in 2015)
  • Wettest November on record
  • The most rain ever recorded on any day in November (11/27/15)
  • The greatest 2-day total ever recorded within the 215 days between September 23 and April 24 (2nd time this season, also 10/22-23 when DFW received 6.13″). To understand what I mean, please take a look at the scatter plot.

⚡️ How long have weather records been kept at DFW?

Record keeping for DFW began 119 years, 7 months and 24 days ago, on September 1, 1898.

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DFW rainfall stats for the Thanksgiving 2015 heavy rain event:

DayDateAmountRecords
Thursday11/26/152.71"
Friday11/27/153.45"Daily record; Greatest 1-day total ever recorded in November...
Saturday11/28/151.04"
Sunday11/29/150.69" (as of 12 pm)
Storm Total11/26 - 11/297.89"

During the evening of Thursday, November 26, 2015, DFW Airport surpassed the 2.90 inches needed to make 2015 the wettest year on record. As of 5 pm, Friday, November 27, DFW Airport has received 55.62 inches so far in 2015. This shatters the previous record set in 1991 (53.54″) by more than 2 inches.

We still have 34 days left in the year, and we are bound to add to the yearly total. 2015 has certainly been one for the record books.

Details of the broken rainfall records at DFW

On Friday November 27, 2015, DFW Airport received 3.45 inches of rain. This not only broke the daily record, but it also broke the record for the greatest amount of rain ever recorded on any calendar day in the month of November (previous record = 3.24″ on 11/16/1902).

The 3.45 inches of rain on 11/27/15 is also the third greatest calendar day amount ever recorded between November 1 and March 10.

The two-day rainfall total for 11/26 and 11/27 was 6.16 inches. This is the single greatest 2-day total ever recorded between September 23 and April 24 (215 days, including Leap Day). This is the second time just since October 1 that this has occurred. The other occasion was October 22-23, 2015 when DFW received 6.13″ in 2 days. Refer to the scatter plot below for a better understanding of these numbers.

2015 is the wettest year on record, exceeding the “normal” annual rainfall by nearly 300%. DFW broke the record on the evening of November 26th. See the stats box below for the total rainfall updated in real-time.

In November, DFW received 9.86 inches. The “normal” rainfall for DFW during the month of November is 2.71 inches (based on the 30-year average from 1981 through 2010). This was 363% of normal (263% above normal).

May 2015: Read about May 2015 (wettest May on record)

⚡️ What Was the Total Rainfall at DFW in 2015?

For the entire year of 2015, the total amount of rain at DFW was 62.61 inches, making 2015 the wettest year on record for the DFW Metroplex.

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Scatter plot of 2-day rainfall amounts greater than 6 inches plotted by month/day. None are found between the end of September and the end of April except for the two recent events (Oct 22-23 and Nov 26-27, 2015).

Above, I added a scatter plot to show the dates on which the 2-day rainfall exceeded 6 inches (dating back 117 years to 1898). You will notice that they all occurred during the summer months except for two. Both of the two outliers occurred THIS year (within the past 35 days):

  • October 22-23 (6.13″)
  • November 26-27 (6.16″)
Rainfall data for 2015 at DFW and the 117 year trend

Percent increase in each “all-time” record over its predecessor (i.e., ranked annual rainfall from wettest to driest).

Atmospheric Precipitable Water Content (PWAT)

I have had excellent success at forecasting heavy rain events by using the PWAT (atmospheric precipitable water content) percentile. In particular, I have found the 99th percentile to be a critical threshold. On Thursday (11/26), the PWAT measured on the evening sounding at Fort Worth was the 3rd highest ever recorded in the month of November. Interestingly, on the evening of October 22 (23/00z), PWAT was the 5th highest ever recorded during the month of October.

List of top 10 wettest years at DFW

RankAmountYearNotes
162.622015as of midnight 12/28
253.541991
351.031932
450.621973
550.491957
650.052007
747.572004
846.641914
945.741919
1045.391946

Trinity River flooding 2015, Dallas skyline. Credit: Dallas Morning News

Trinity River flooding 2015, Dallas skyline. Credit: Dallas Morning News

Trinity River flooding 2015, Dallas skyline. Credit: Dallas Morning News

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