MacDonald: Spin on VT rainfall stats all wet

Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

by Steve MacDonald, for Granite Grok

Vermont Public, the local Nancy Pelosi Radio (NPR) online affiliate (maybe gang is a better term), has a bit about the rain in the state capital of Montpelier. “Montpelier sets rainfall record for July.”

The Green Mountain State was whacked for certain, and it may well be a record for Montpelier, but what about that last bit? An average of six more inches of precipitation (on average) since the 1960s? Am I going to have to search out all the articles on drought for the past fifty years? I could, but there’s no need.

Steve MacDonald

First, the author quotes NOAA from a Vermont-specific site that says, quote, “Annual average precipitation has increased nearly 6 inches since the 1960s.” So she’s off the hook, but NOAA isn’t. Their state-level time series data does not support that statement.

The average statewide precipitation from 1895 to 1969 is  40.46 inches. From 1970 to 2022, it is 45.48 inches. That’s 5.02″ inches. It is not nearly six. It is barely five. And I accept that I may be nitpicking, but wait – there’s more. Over the past ten years, from 2012 to 2022, the annual average rainfall has declined nearly 1.25 inches to 44.23. That is only 3.77 inches above the 1895-1969 average.

Nitpicking? Not quite four sounds a lot less intimidating than nearly six, and what if that was someone’s pronoun? You wouldn’t want to get that wrong.

This year will very likely change that number, but a decade of fewer annual inches seems important to me. The same sort of importance should apply to the absence of catastrophic sea level rise on the New Hampshire coast over the same period. It is flat or declining over the past decade, as is the media response.

It’s going the wrong way, so there’s nothing to report. Oh, look – rain!

By the way, a search of for Vermont + Drought from 2000 to 2023 produced 10,275 hits. That includes the  Burlington Free Press, the Rutland Daily Herald, The Brattleboro Reformer, Bennington Banner, and five other “newspapers” in the state.

If we expand the search back to 1970, there are nearly 29,179 hits.

What a popular subject for a state with all that extra precipitation. And no, I don’t think they were writing about the absence of drought.

Author is a long-time New Hampshire resident, blogger, and a member of the Board of directors of The 603 Alliance. He is the Managing Editor and co-owner of, a former board member of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, and a past contributor to the Franklin Center for Public Policy.

Categories: Commentary, Weather

16 replies »

  1. This was the first time in forty years I haven’t had to carry water for my garden. But I did have to sweep the water out of my garden shed because the roof leaked. That was a first.

  2. It’s all about information cherry picking. Whether it’s trends or averages, if you cherry pick the information you want, you can control the outcome of the study. You want to prove it’s getting wetter ? Start your study after the last great drought. You want to prove that man is the main influence in global warming ? Start your study after the “little ice age” ended. Penn of Penn and Teller hosted an expose of Nostradamus, where he picked apart his predictions by basically saying that if you want to predict something, and not be proven wrong, cast a big net that will encompass as close to every scenario as possible. In other words, It’ going to be warm and wet, unless it’s going to be cold and dry. then throw the extremes in with averages, and voila ! an accurate prediction ! I can tell you that the Earth has been warming since the peak of the last ice age, and it will continue until this warming peaks and we start cooling to the next ice age. Send me my sheep skin !

  3. Hey Liberals, you better get your solar/battery-powered sump pumps,
    let me know how that’s working out !!

    It’s not nice to fool mother nature, she’s taking notice ……….

  4. Who was it that said, “Statistics lie and liars use statistics!”?
    Lack of critical thinking skills combined with lack of integrity….pretty much sums up our world today.

  5. Talk about brainwashing, the only 2 radio stations that can be heard almost anywhere in Vermont are NPR and VPR both AM and FM. I’d rather listen to my tire noise from the road or nails scraping a chalk board.

  6. Historical dat is only as good as the parameters used to choose the data that conveniently fits a particular narrative. The progressive left seems to be expert at this tactic. Then again so is the CIA

  7. Steve you made a number of methodological flaws which makes your conclusions inaccurate:

    1. The quote says since the 1960s which means 1960-1969 but in your quest to prove the 6″ number wrong you use 1895-1969. You’re not using the same date range for your comparison.

    2. When comparing date ranges you can’t make an average of 1970-2022, an average of 2012-2022 (inclusive), subtract, and then say there is a decrease. You could say 2012-2022 is lower than 1970-2022 but there isn’t a decrease because you’re not comparing the same type of number.

    3. Vermont can experience drought and increasing precipitation. Your comments about drought articles doesn’t disprove that they happen and precipitation is increasing over time.

    Vermont’s long term 1895-2022 trend is increasing precipitation and increasing extreme precipitation events. It’s unfortunate Vermont experiences the worst flooding in almost 100 years and this website is full of articles and comments of people trying to disprove reality and praising the storm as some sort of biblical righteousness. It really shows the hatred some of you have for your fellow humans and says more about the evil lurking in your own black hearts.

    • Actually, the line first in question should be from VPR quote, “Vermont sees on average 6 more inches of precipitation every year than it did in the 1960s.” Grammatically, what they are saying is that on “average” since the 1960’s, Vermont receives 6 more inches every year”. Which means that in 1960 let’s say they had 14 inches of rain. Then by that statement, on average, they should have gotten 20 inches of rain in 1961, 26 inches in 1962, 32 inches in 1963 etc…
      The sentence is incorrectly stated. What I think they meant is that over the course of the last 63 years, the average yearly rainfall has increased by a total of 6 inches compared to pre 1960 data collection. Otherwise, an increase of 6 inches every year means that every year it goes up another 6 inches which would mean that this year there would be 378 inches of rain if we started at 14 inches in 1960.
      Then Mr. MacDonald writes, “The average statewide precipitation from 1895 to 1969 is 40.46 inches. From 1970 to 2022, it is 45.48 inches. That’s 5.02″ inches.” It is implied that he means the “average statewide yearly precipitation” from 1895 to 1969 is 40.46 inches. But if he were precise, that is what he should write. “Chris M” states, “The quote says since the 1960s which means 1960-1969 but, in your quest, to prove the 6″ number wrong you use 1895-1969. You’re not using the same date range for your comparison.” Since VPR was reporting what the National Weather Service was reporting, either VPR or NWS stated it incorrectly. But since I don’t have access, nor am I going to look it up, was NPR/NWS stating the average precipitation (and technically this would include rain, hail, snow and sleet so that word, “precipitation” needs to be defined or changed if indeed all they are talking about is rain) is 40.46 inches consistently in all years from only the 1960’s or from the beginning of data collection? We don’t know. And again, I’m not looking it up.
      See how important precise language should be especially when talking facts? See how one could misinterpret the information when data reporting is imprecise? I am no expert linguist, meteorologist, or mathematician by any stretch of the imagination. But I was trained by my college faculty mentor and over 34 years in my nursing profession to be as precise and detailed as possible in my communication, both verbal and written. And required by regulation to seek clarification when communication was presented to me that was unclear. Not to mention morally or ethically… after all, a human life was at stake.
      But I see that being this precise and detailed may not be everyone’s experience. Indeed, my own district Representative, Tristan Roberts, cannot do simple math nor sort out how much it costs him to travel to Montpelier every week when the legislature is in session. He prefers to the let the government figure it out for him.
      More clarification is needed on many levels in this article in order to weigh in correctly and scientifically. And as I already stated, “statistics lie and liars use statistics”. The Scientific Method, and indeed, Principles in general, have been distorted and the search for true and accurate information has been lost to laziness, stupidity and politicization.
      I do applaud both Mr. MacDonald and “Chris M” for attempting to tackle a scientific topic in a logical way, however. Most Americans/Vermonters just have a knee jerk reaction and hop on over to the next topic without a lick of critical thinking. And for the record, my own evaluation may be incorrect. And I would welcome anyone to offer constructive criticism should they feel so inclined to share.

    • “Chris M”, when you write, “Vermont’s long term 1895-2022 trend is increasing precipitation and increasing extreme precipitation events.” from what source are you obtaining your data and are you or your source only speaking of rain or are you including all forms of precipitation? If you are going to make a blanket statement without substantiating your information you cannot be taken seriously. It then becomes hyperbole. And invalidates your previous attempt in your comment to be precise.

    • Talk about hatred in someone’s heart. I would like to call out the state equity office the following statement when I brought to their attention that the equity program in Essex is emotionally harmef a young white child who no longer wanted to be white because white people are bad. He wanted to be black. In response to my story the state equity employee stated “Don’t you think white children should feel the same pain as black children?” If you are so worried about hatred, please call the state equity office to express concern.

    • Chris M: You may be correct, that: “Vermont’s long term 1895-2022 trend is increasing precipitation and increasing extreme precipitation events.”

      But the written record of New England flooding goes back more than four hundred years. Thus, your ‘long-term’ perspective is rather limited.

      And almost without exception, these anecdotal references over 400 years are typically ‘the worst ever seen in a lifetime’.

      But that some “people [are] trying to disprove reality and praising the storm as some sort of biblical righteousness…really shows the hatred some … have for your fellow humans…”, is, arguably, a psychological projection.

      I suspect you feel that those who deny climate change are affecting your life choices, and that they don’t have a right to do so. So, you fear them. Perhaps you even hate them, as they may hate you for the same reason. Far be it for me to speculate on anyone’s state of mind.

      But even a 400-year perspective is limited, not to mention the contrived and projected results climate change actually has on life on earth. The fact is the climate is changing. It always has. It always will. At least until the earth is consumed by an exploding sun in about five billion years or so.

      Consider: A Brief History of Climate, From Prehistory to The Imaginary Crisis of the 21st Century

      From Girouard’s perspective, ‘Climate History’ clearly shows that we’re living in a blessed time, and that past civilizations generally prospered during warm periods and declined during cold ones. And that the speculation that Climate Change is ‘anthropogenic’ is so persistent clearly doesn’t hold water (pun intended) – based, at least, on the prehistoric record.

      None the less, I will try to resist making the hubristic assertion that your failure to consider the facts ‘says more about the evil lurking in your own black heart’. But I do believe some introspection is in order.

  8. Perhaps Senator MacDonald will legislate Vermonters be granted an extra umbrella and personal floatation device along with his extra blanket inititiative. The climate hoax long disproven as “green energy” is worse for the environment. The EU is pivioting back to coal and gas. Depopulation and controlling all resources is the climate emergency. Interesting the EU and USA/Canada are the only ones doing the “climate change” Chicken Little dance. The rest of the globe is not consenting or complying. China is laughing at us while selling us the products they made with our resources – oil, gas, coal, etc.