Crozet Weather Almanac: Somebody Please Turn Off the Rain

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Chart courtesy Heidi Sonen and Roscoe Shaw.

The title for our article last month was “Rain, Rain, and More Rain.” After nine inches of rain in August and four straight wet months, we were sick of it. But in September, even more fell. We measured 11.32” total and rain fell 22 consecutive days!

We didn’t quite get 40 days and 40 nights of rain, but we were halfway to biblical proportions. We still can’t believe they dismantled the Ark in Old Trail because it seems so appropriate now. The wet streak began with a modest dose September 7th and then at least some rain fell every day through the 28th. We had just a trace of rain September 11th, but all the other days had measurable amounts and five different days had over an inch.

You would think that all this rain would be great for lawns and gardens, but it wasn’t. Humidity levels were stunningly high for the entire month, and the sun was so absent that my outdoor solar lights quit working. The result was a bumper crop of mushrooms growing in my un-mowed yard and slimy, moldy plants. We planted some grass on September 1st as recommended. It germinated nicely but then never really grew and looks awful. Our dogs are covered with mud and ticks and the fall hay is musty and uncut.

The rain streak finally ended September 29 and the first week of October should be mostly rain-free. However, the humidity will remain high and there is no sign of the cool, dry Canadian air that is so refreshing this time of year.

So, how does all this stack up in the record books? The tally of consecutive days of rain is hard to determine because some of the older records weren’t very good at catching days with small amounts. But we can’t find a single run of rain that beat this month. May of 2016 had 19 days straight and similar streaks happened in November of 1956 and July of 1966.

This month didn’t even make the top ten for total rainfall. Remnants of hurricanes can drop enormous amounts of rain here and those dominate the records. Almost 18 inches fell in September of 1987 with 16 inches in September of 1944. September is often a dry month, but it dominates the list of the wettest months because that is when hurricanes are most likely.

In terms of the most rain ever thus far in the year, 2018 ranks third with 53.71 inches. In 1937, almost 58” had fallen by now and that year set the all-time annual record of 72 inches. Third on the list was the drought-breaking year of 2003 with 66 inches. Some of you will remember that serious drought plagued us in 2002, but that came to an end with the historically wet 2003.

So, we still have a shot at the all-time calendar year record for rain. Let’s hope we don’t get it!  

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