Crozet Weather Almanac: Was 2018 the Rainiest Year Ever?

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Chart courtesy Heidi Sonen and Roscoe Shaw.

Heidi and I are so sick of the rain we just want it to stop. The best part of the December snowstorm was that it wasn’t rain. We measured 74.20” for the year versus an average of 47.”

This deluge happened after the year actually started off rather dry. Through the first quarter ending March 31, we had only 8.4,” which was well below normal. April was about normal and then came the rain. May had some serious flooding and then every single month was very wet, right through December.

The worst month was probably September when 11” fell and rain came 22 days in a row. Conditions were so humid that my grass actually stopped growing. Even my grass hated the rain.

So, was this year’s rain a record? Amazingly, it was not. McCormick Observatory at the University of Virginia has been recording rainfall since 1892. This year was second all-time with 72.33.” The wettest ever was 2003 when 74.55” fell. However, we measured only 66” in Crozet in 2003, so we clearly had more this year.

Some places, especially near Ivy, probably got over 80” this year with a boost from the localized flooding in May when huge amounts fell. So, it doesn’t really matter if it was officially a record. A lot of rain fell, more than ever in some places.

Looking at the bright side, we won’t have to worry about a long-term drought for at least two years. Also, the creek in our back yard is completely cleaned out. All the mud and gunk is gone and the water is running fast and clear on bedrock. And now is a good time to decide where to put trails or structures since it is unlikely the water table will ever be higher!

December Recap…

The big event this month was obviously the snow on the 9th. Snow started in the morning and dumped all day reaching 11” deep by evening. School was repeatedly canceled and sledding conditions were excellent. The snow lasted about five days but finally melted when, you guessed it, another huge rainstorm washed it away. 

The first half of December was cold but the second half was warm, so we finished almost exactly normal which averages 39 degrees. Rainfall, of course, was well above normal with 7.84” vs an average of 3.35.” 

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