Good Old March... Heavy Rain?

Heaviest WCCO Weather Watcher Network rain totals through 11am March 16, 2016

Radar-estimated 24-hour rainfall totals, ending 7am CDT March 16, 2016 (Credit: NOAA)

Up to 2.50" of rain has fallen over Minnesota in the last two days, and more precipitation is falling today (as snow) over northern Minnesota. Rainfall at MSP International Airport tied a daily record yesterday, coming in at 0.85".  In general, the heaviest precipitation fell in line with the I-35 corridor, and points to the east; western parts on Minnesota were pretty dry, overall.

Heavy rain isn't all that common in March in our region, but it has become increasingly common.

Source: Climate Central

In our warming climate, the atmosphere "holds" more water vapor, and that will lead to increased instances of heavy rainfall. In fact, Climate Central research has shown a significant increase in days with 2" or more of rainfall across the U.S. since 1950.

Source: Climate Central

Additionally, every part of the U.S. has experienced an uptick in "extreme" rainfall events -- defined as the heaviest 1% of daily events -- since 1950. Here, in the upper Mississippi Valley, extreme rainfall events have increased 37%, the second-highest increase in the nation.

You can see live WCCO Weather Watcher Network rainfall totals on the map below.