Vermont breaks records for rainfall

Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 6:15 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - As many locations around the globe sustained record heat during the month of July, Vermont also saw some weather extremes.

Though the month of July might have felt steamy, it was only the 8th hottest on record. But it was extreme for rainfall, breaking monthly records in Montpelier and Rutland. “In Montpelier, for example, we had over a foot of rain -- which is more than we’ve seen in any month on record for Montpelier,” said Peter Banacos with the National Weather Service in Burlington. He says while it’s difficult to directly link torrential rain or other extreme weather to climate change, it is a pattern that Vermont will likely more frequently in the future.

“The overall climate is warming. We see trends that are wetter overall in Vermont, so we have to be prepared for a lot of variability in a climate system which is natural to an extent but we are also seeing more trends to wetter and warmer conditions,” Banacos said.

Not only was the rainfall extreme, but the wildfires burning in Canada were more extreme, enshrouding the Northeast in smoke. Banacos says many felt the heat in July thanks to humidity from a warmer-than-normal North Atlantic Ocean. “Even though the temperatures weren’t necessarily extreme, the combination of the temperatures and the humidity certainly made for long stretches where it was quite hot and uncomfortable in that sense,” he said.

Over at Burlington Electric, they issued a “defeat the peak” advisory last week asking customers to conserve energy. BED’s Darren Springer says the warnings have nothing to do with grid reliability but rather saving money for customers. “When we think about the reliability -- if somebody needs to use their air conditioning needs to use energy during the peak -- they can. It’s just beneficial if we’re able to reduce for that hour or two in terms of saving Burlington Electric customers money,” he said.

On a statewide basis, Green Mountain Power says the hot weather isn’t posing a concern on the grid. They have an arsenal of batteries that allows them to use stored energy instead of asking customers to conserve during peak times.