What’s next for 2020?

It’s the question everyone wants to ask, but is too afraid to actually say it.

The next challenge might be having the wettest August on record.

With 7.05 inches of precipitation through the month’s first 11 days, August 2020 has set a record pace.

Since Missourian records were first kept in 1951, Washington’s wettest August on record was 2019, when a total of 11.0 inches of precipitation was measured.

Even if it stopped raining for the rest of the month, this already is the sixth-wettest August on record.

At the current rate, this August will end with 19.87 inches of precipitation. That would not only be the wettest August on record, but the wettest month. Currently, the wettest month on record is October of 2009, when 18.52 inches of precipitation was measured.

So far, August’s precipitation has come from three events.

• In a weekend of rain, a total of 3.20 inches of precipitation was measured in the gauge, located in downtown Washington Aug. 3.

• The following day, Aug. 4, additional rain left 0.10 of an inch in the gauge.

• Heavy storms from late Saturday night into early Sunday morning left 2.85 inches of additional rain in the gauge, to make it 6.15 inches of precipitation for the month so far.

• Another heavy storm late Monday afternoon dropped 0.90 of an inch of rain.

The average August precipitation for downtown Washington is 3.67 inches, making it the sixth-wettest month historically.

There have been 12 instances of downtown Washington receiving six inches or more in August.

Those are:

• 2019 — 11.00;

• 2000 — 9.08;

• 2016 — 8.41;

• 2004 — 7.42;

• 2015 — 7.32;

• 2020 — 7.05 (through first 11 days);

• 2005 — 7.04;

• 1974 — 6.86;

• 1993 — 6.38;

• 1990 — 6.10;

• 1982 — 6.09; and

• 2014 — 6.03.

Annual Numbers

For the first 224 days of 2020, a total of 38.23 inches of precipitation has been measured.

That would put the area on pace for 62.47 inches of precipitation. If that happens, it would be the seventh time a total of 60 or more inches had been measured.

The current wettest 10 years are:

• 2008 — 76.81;

• 2009 — 76.13;

• 1993 — 68.37;

• 2015 — 68.32;

• 2019 — 62.95;

• 2004 — 61.64;

• 2010 — 59.48;

• 1982 — 58.49;

• 2011 — 57.80; and

• 2005 — 57.28.

As of 2020, the average annual precipitation for Washington is 43.91 inches.

With its current precipitation, 2020 already is wetter than 23 other complete years.

That list includes six years where precipitation was less than 30 inches for the entire year.

Currently, the driest year on record is 1976, when 20.22 inches of precipitation was measured.

Rivers

Even with the weekend rain, the Missouri River at Washington is not expected to get close to its 20-foot flood stage.

The river spiked Sunday at 13.29 feet and is expected to make another minor rise up to 11.9 feet Wednesday.

The Bourbeuse River crested Monday evening in Union at 9.78 feet and was dropping Tuesday morning. Flood stage there is 15 feet.

The Meramec River in Pacific rose to 6.24 feet Tuesday morning. No projections were available. Flood stage in Pacific is 15 feet.

There have been four flood crests along the Missouri River in Washington this year. Those have been:

• 22.88 feet Jan. 11;

• 22.35 feet May 30;

• 22.05 feet March 21; and

• 21.49 feet March 24.