In a year so far approaching historical rain amounts, city officials are hoping the showers will hold off for the Fourth of July holiday.
But the chances for rain could come down to a coin toss.
The National Weather Service has the chance of precipitation at 50% for Thursday, with rain and thunderstorms increasing in likelihood into the afternoon.
“That’s going to be due mostly to that afternoon heat,” said meteorologist Clifford Goff. “It’ll be that same trend as the recent summer days, and it could be hit and miss whether it turns into rain or thunderstorms. If it does, it will be brief showers.”
The forecast for the holiday adds to a year saturated with rain. Since mid-February, the accumulated precipitation in Frankfort has outpaced the historical average by about 10 inches, according to data from NWS.
In June, the total rainfall has been 2.5 inches more than the historical average for the month. The rainfall from that month put Frankfort shy by about 5 inches of the historical record of 39 inches of accumulated precipitation set at the same point of the year in 2011, the NWS reported.
“It’s been a pretty wet month,” Goff said of June.
The record of accumulated precipitation set for an entire year stood at 65.58 inches in 2011 until last year, when a new record of 68.94 inches was set. This year's rain amounts are on course to contend with the two. The 32.29 inches accumulated by the end of June in 2018 is a fraction less than the rain accumulated this year, the NWS reported.
And the above-average rain impacts more than the frequency of umbrella use. It also has a negative impact on the city’s funds.
Shawn Pickens, director of the parks department, said that more rains add more cost to maintenance of parks citywide. And they also cut into revenue at facilities like Juniper Hill Aquatic Center.
“The cost of maintenance stays the same rain or no rain,” he said. “And on rainy days when we have to close the pool, the revenue goes down while we have the same amount of maintenance.”
Pickens could not estimate the total cost of the rain but said it is “marginal” in respect to the overall parks department’s expenses. In addition, excess rain causes growth of plant life in all city parks, creating expenses in fuel, personnel and maintenance of equipment to battle the growth, Pickens said.
He added while last year was also a notably wet year, the cycle of dry years and wet years tend to balance out over time. He’s just hoping the rain will hold out for families celebrating the holiday in one of Frankfort’s many public parks.
“It’s a wildcard,” Pickens said. “If we’re lucky, it’ll miss us or clear up after a late shower.”