East of the Continental Divide, it often seemed as if it would never stop raining in 2018. Historically wet weather soaked an enormous amount of real estate.
The Mid-Atlantic region, where many places witnessed their wettest year on record, marked the epicenter of sogginess. Rainfall totals of 55 to 70 inches were widespread.
In the District, the 66.28 inches of rain easily surpassed the old record of 61.33 inches, set in 1889. Dalecarlia Reservoir inside the District also posted a record of 74.1 inches. To the west, Washington Dulles International Airport picked up 66.74 inches, besting 65.67 inches in 2003.
Some of the biggest precipitation departures from normal in the Eastern United States, away from maximums in the Carolinas, were near Baltimore and across northern Maryland. Baltimore’s 71.82 inches destroyed the 2003 record of 62.66 inches.
In addition to Washington and Baltimore, many other population centers notched their wettest year on record, including:
- Asheville (airport), N.C., at 79.48 inches
- Lexington, Ky., at 71.98 inches
- Reading, Pa., at 68.08 inches
- Hagerstown, Md., at 67.1 inches
- Charleston, W.Va., at 67.05 inches
- Greensboro, N.C., at 64.11 inches
- State College, Pa., at 63.75 inches
- Roanoke, at 62.45 inches
In all, the Weather Channel reported that 111 stations posted their wettest year.
Many other places saw their second wettest year, including Richmond. There, the 63.73 inches was the most recorded at the airport location, but a higher total was logged at a previous location in the late 1800s. The 67.03 inches of precipitation in Harrisburg, Pa., 2018 was also a runner-up, just behind the record-setting 2011.
Among all of these sopping wet areas, there were the elite — where rainfall exceeded 100 inches. Locations joining the 100-inch club included parts of the Appalachians and the coastline of the Carolinas, which was hammered by Hurricane Florence.
Wilmington, N.C., was one of the standouts. It finished the year with an astounding 102.4 inches of rain. This is about 45 inches above normal for that location and is almost unheard of outside the tropics and in a non-mountainous location.
So much rain poured on the high elevations of the Southern Appalachians that yearly records are in jeopardy in three states: North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Nearly 12 feet of rain fell in some of the high elevations of North Carolina. Mount Mitchell posted 139.94 inches of rain which, if confirmed, would be a state record, according to Montana Eck of the Southeast Regional Climate Center. It would best the previous mark of 129.6 inches set in Rosman, N.C., in 1964.
Jocassee, a mountain area located in the northwesternmost part of South Carolina, tallied 123.45 inches. If confirmed, it would represent a new yearly rainfall record for the state, according to Melissa Griffin, a climatologist in Lexington, passing the previous mark of 119.16 inches at Hogback Mountain.
Similarly in west-central Virginia, the 97.34 inches recorded at a NWS cooperative site in Montebello, would break the state record there if and when verified, per John Boyer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
As more data is examined, it’s possible that other states in the Mid-Atlantic region will hold new annual rainfall records.
Outside the Mid-Atlantic, the Upper Midwest was another region that saw areas of record-setting rain, including Green Bay, Wis., which posted 39.21 inches.
As the Mid-Atlantic faces plentiful moisture flowing in from the Pacific Ocean, the weather pattern that capped 2018 on a soggy note seems set to continue into 2019.
There’s still time to buy a boat.