Scores of cities and towns in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest have already clinched their wettest year on record with a month still remaining. In many locations, the soggiest November on record sealed the deal.
Weather watchers in the D.C. area know that the city is on the cusp of the wettest year on record. While the District is officially less than one inch from the high water mark, Baltimore reached it mid-month and continues to add to its record total. Many other locations in the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest join Baltimore in having already notched a record-wet year.
The map above shows all of the locations, nearly 200, that have already logged their wettest year. These are pulled from a data set that contains close to 20,000 observation sites. I included only the stations that contain at least 40 years of records.
The locations that have attained the most rain are all found east of the Continental Divide and concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas.
The weather data displayed is pulled from two sources: official, automated climate stations from the National Weather Service; and private citizen scientists, known as cooperative weather observers or co-ops.
Where has the most precipitation fallen? A co-op in Wilmington, N.C., has logged 105.56 inches this year, while another on Grandfather Mountain reported a record 100.82 inches. Other exceptionally wet locations include Tucker, W.Va., and Marion, N.C., both of which topped 90 inches. Dalecarlia Reservoir, a co-op in the District, has picked up 68.74 inches.
Examining some official climate locations, Baltimore reached its wettest year on Nov. 15. That spot stands at 65.28 inches, or almost three inches ahead of the old record, 62.66 inches in 2003. Farther north, the 63.57 inches in Reading, Pa., is a record, surpassing 61.21 inches in 1996.
The rainfall total posted by the official climate location in Wilmington, N.C., is a particularly impressive one. This year’s 95.32 inches blows away the previous top spot of 83.65 inches in 1877.
In Charleston, W.Va., the top spot before this year was 61.01 inches in 2003. This year’s total there stands at 61.38 inches.
Pittsburgh Allegheny Airport has a long-term record with a big gap in the middle, but it is the wettest on record there, while Pittsburgh International is at its second-wettest and within striking distance of the top spot.
Atlantic City Airport is one of the newest official sites to reach a record, doing so during Monday’s rain. The 61.91 inches recorded there is the most at that location.
A wet year is, of course, buttressed by wet months. November is only the latest installment in 2018 across the Mid-Atlantic. In addition to reaching their wettest year on record, a number of places have also now attained their wettest November.
Major climate locations that have reached their wettest November include the District with 7.56 inches and Baltimore with 8.14 inches.
Farther north, Philadelphia is on the cusp of its wettest November, while Islip on Long Island is there with 8.39 inches. Several observing sites around Boston have recorded their wettest November or close to it.
The East Coast should make it through the rest of November without much more rainfall, but the pattern remains active into December, so more places are likely to add to their 2018 total before the year comes to a close.
Note: This methodology will pick up locations that have seen the most rain at the spot of observations. It is possible some of them are not the record overall as major climate locations are often threaded together from multiple locations. Regardless, at least 40 years of data were required to be included on these maps.