Ooh, here's some obscure weather trivia. The big rain we had last week pushed Central Park's total for the year to over 50 inches. That makes 2006 the fourth consecutive year in which precipitation exceeded 50 inches --the first time that's happened since records began in 1869.

visible satellite from naval research lab

The rain parade continues this week as a storm, that looks like a tropical storm but isn't a tropical storm, moves up along the coast today and a second storm moves in from the Ohio Valley later in the week. Drizzle and light rain will occur off-and-on this afternoon. Showers are likely tonight and tomorrow. And Wednesday and Thursday and maybe Friday. Heaviest rains will be tonight and maybe Thursday night. The big looping pattern in the jet stream that's giving us this rain is also keeping the temperatures up. We've seen warmer than normal conditions for a week now and that will continue through Thursday. Expect high temperatures in the upper-50s to mid-60s, with low temperatures not much cooler than that for the next few days.

Has anybody seen the new snowflake stamps? Even though they were issued last month, Gothamist just learned about them today. Yes, we're that slow. Anyway, the holiday snowflake stamps, based on the beautiful photographs by physicist Kenneth Libbrecht, are now available at your local post office. If you look at those pictures you'll see that the flakes have six sides. All ice crystals are six sided, that's just how water freezes, unless they are snowflakes in the HarperCollins Children's Books centerfold ad in yesterday's New York Times Book Review. Those flakes were eight-sided.

Satellite image from the Naval Research Lab.