WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It has already been a record-setting year for rain in Wilmington with 18 days remaining in 2018 . For the first time ever, the Port City has a chance to surpass 100 inches of rain for an entire year.
As of Thursday morning, the National Weather Service rain gauge at Wilmington International Airport has collected 97.75 inches of rain for the year. That total alone shatters the previous record for rainfall of 83.65 inches measured in the entirety of 1877.
The record rain also has come with some unfortunate setbacks. Heavy downpours have caused major and catastrophic flooding. Crops and plants were destroyed, unable to handle the inundation of high water. Roads were washed away by a surge of overflowing creeks and rivers.
Impacts aside, how did we wind up with such a high amount of rain? Let’s look at the totals measured at the airport, month by month.
Notably the wettest month of 2018 was September; we have Florence to thank for that with 23.02 inches of rain measured during the storm, and 24.13 inches for the entire month; setting a new monthly rainfall record. For perspective, an average month of rain for September yields 7.84 inches.
In May, monthly rainfall totals measured a record-setting 14.36 inches, more than tripling the average of 4.49 inches. In fact, 7 of the past 11 months have been above average, with rainfall totals.
The storm system forecast to move through Friday and Saturday carries with it the potential for 1-3 inches of rain, with locally higher amount nearing 5 inches. Already this month, we’ve seen 2.43 inches of rain. That’s more than one-inch above average. If this forecast verifies, this would not only send our rainfall totals over 100 inches for the year but would push Wilmington deeper and deeper into uncharted territory.
Totals for other locations in the Lower Cape Fear Region vary, but there is no denying the remarkable place in Wilmington weather history 2018 holds -- The fall of a 141 year-old record, capping off, for many, a year not soon forgot.