These are the highlights from an article on 2011's record breaking weather year ...
The rain gauge at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York recorded 7.8 inches (19.8 cm) on Aug. 14, breaking the previous daily record of 6.27 inches (15.9 cm), set in 1984.
Preliminary estimates peg New Jersey's August rainfall at 16.5 inches (41.9 centimeters), making it the rainiest month ever recorded in the state.
"This breaks the former record by four and a half inches," Robinson said. "I've been using the word 'staggering,' and the phrase, 'you can't make this up.'
"Meanwhile, Texas, Oklahoma and large sections of New Mexico are experiencing serious drought, with plants dying and reservoirs drying up.
Also experienced this year is " the worst one-year Texas drought on record since 1895, as far back as the data goes."
"With global temperatures warmer now than they were at the beginning of the last century, that means our temperatures are warmer too, which increases the rate of evaporation and increases the demands on water, increases the stress on the water supply, and also leaves us more susceptible to breaking the high-temperature record, which we've been doing lately," Nielsen-Gammon said. In other words, regardless of whether climate change helped create the drought, global warming is exacerbating the situation.
Irene isn't the only dramatic storm to hit the country this year. As La Nina made its exit in the spring (with its effects lingering into the hurricane season that begins June 1), it ended its stabilizing effect on the jet stream — which, in turn, dipped lower into the U.S., bringing cold, dry northern air into contact with warm, damp southern air. The result: A tornado season for the record books.
If preliminary estimates hold, 2011 will likely go down in the record books as the year with the most disasters costing a billion dollars or more apiece. Irene will likely be the 10th billion-dollar disaster this year, beating 2008's record of 9.
2011 and 2010 both ushered in dramatic weather,