Green Bay nears record for wettest year -- with 3 months left

Wequiock Falls in Brown County after the heavy rain on Sept. 11, 2019 (WBAY photo)
Wequiock Falls in Brown County after the heavy rain on Sept. 11, 2019 (WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Sep. 11, 2019 at 5:46 PM CDT
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Wednesday's rainfall inches us closer to breaking the record for the all-time wettest year dating back to the 1880's. And we still have 111 days left in the year.

"We're seeing a lot of this. It never wants to end, ever," Steve Beylon says.

StormCenter 2 Chief Meteorologist Steve Beylon is a little tired of forecasting rain, but after a record 39.21 inches of precipitation in Green Bay last year he expects that record to fall easily.

"It would be shocking if we didn't break it," Beylon says. "We could be at 37 or 38 [inches] by the end of this week."

With already more than a foot of precipitation above normal, and lake and river levels at record highs, Northeast Wisconsin is waterlogged like never before.

The scenic waterfall at Wequiock Falls northeast of Green Bay was a raging, brown deluge on Wednesday.

"August, September, we would expect Wequiock Creek to be just a trickle over the waterfall," University of Wisconsin-Green Bay environmental science professor Kevin Fermanich said.

Fermanich says the landscape is taxed to the max right now with water.

"When we get this much rain this often, it has to go somewhere, so it either heads to our streams and rivers or it percolates down into the groundwater," Fermanich explained, "and over time the water level in the ground, our aquifers and water tables, come up higher and higher and they're basically at the surface in many areas now."

Fermanich says the record rains are already hampering agriculture, causing erosion and water quality issues due to runoff.

Equally troubling is the urban impact, especially if this wet weather becomes the norm.

"Will hopefully wake us up to think about how do we manage and plan for these types of events. It means we have to invest in our infrastructure on how we handle the water, our storm water infrastructure and even our engineering designs," Fermanich said.

He added, "Often the way we design for the future is we look at history, but maybe that history is not the right history for us to be thinking about in the future."