Close enough: Logic leads to rainfall win

Just like the rain during the year, entries into The Hook's "Is It Time to Build the Ark?" contest arrived in a steady stream, with guesses ranging from the winning entry to a wild 138 inches.

Martin Quinn's estimate of 74.26 inches of rainfall was within .29 inches of 2003's total: 74.55, which topped the old record of 72.08 inches set in 1937.

Jerry Stenger in the state climatologist's office at UVA, who kept track of the precip, reports that not only did the area set a record for the amount of wet stuff that hit the ground, but also for the number of days when we needed umbrellas: 166, topping the 1948 record of 146.

Quinn, an environmental engineer with The Environmental Company, who graduated from UVA in 2001, doused the assumption that mystical intuitive powers or even the Ouija board– helped him come up with his guess.

"I feel a little bit guilty because I guessed close to the deadline after we'd had an inch and a half of rain. Then I looked at the 10-day forecast," he confesses.

No massaging of the Magic 8-Ball?

"Nope," Quinn says matter-of-factly. "It was all science. I can thank [state climatologist] Patrick Michaels because I took his meterology class at UVA, and through the knowledge he instilled in me, I knew where to look."

For his methodical musing, Quinn wins a deluxe umbrella from Order from Horder, which should come in handy if 2004 tries to set a record of its own.