LA CROSSE, Wis (WXOW) - As we wrap up 2019, we look back on another year of staggering precipitation amounts across the Upper Midwest, and more specifically in the state of Wisconsin.
At an average of 41.75" of precipitation, the state of Wisconsin set a record for wettest year ever. It wasn't just at the state level, La Crosse found itself at the third wettest year on record at 44.67" of precipitation.
NWS La Crosse Meteorologist, Jeff Boyne, says we have picked up five years of precipitation in the last four years, which is about 33" extra of precipitation. "with all of this extra precipitation we've had over the last four years, and also having a very wet year this year, that precipitation can't go much into the soil so it actually runs off into our rivers and causes higher flows," said Boyne.
In 2019, river levels on the Mississippi at La Crosse were the highest they've been on average for a calendar year. 2019's record average river stage of 9.05 feet shattered the previous record set in 1986.
So looking ahead, there are many factors that can impact river levels in 2020. "Coming into the winter right now, we've got wet soils and a fairly deep snow pack off to the north right now," said Boyne. "How does it melt, how does it come down? Is it a slow steady one where you're warm during the day and cold at night? Or does it stay warm for days where all of the water is released into the system?"
All things experts are watching closely as we float into the new year.