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NWS: 2018 the wettest year yet

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Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 7:30 pm

NEWPORT — With a hurricane making landfall last September, it may come as no surprise to some that 2018 is now Carteret County’s wettest year on record with the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists at the local NWS office in Newport said 2018’s total rainfall amount recorded at the office itself came in at 101.78 inches, well over the previous record total of 93.75 inches in 2003.

NWS meteorologist-in-charge at the Newport office David Glenn said Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in September in North Carolina, was a huge contributor, producing 20 to 30 inches of rain across the county.

Even without Florence, 2018 would have been a remarkable year for rainfall, according to one N.C. State University faculty member. NCSU Climate Office Interim Director Dr. Walter Robinson referred to a report from NCSU applied climatologist Corey Davis.

According to the report, the climate phenomenon El Nino – a climate pattern marked by high sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean – caused regular low pressure systems in the southeastern U.S., causing rain storms, wintry mix and snow in North Carolina.  

“This would have been a wetter-than-average year, even without Florence; so the hurricanes are part of but not the whole story,” Dr. Robinson said.  

The News-Times asked the local NWS office staff about rainfall totals for areas within Carteret County. However, Mr. Glenn said that due to the partial federal government shutdown which began Dec. 22, specifics like that wouldn’t be available until the shutdown ends.

“Records began at this location in March 2009,” Mr. Glenn said. “Not nearly as long as other sites in Carteret County, though it’s still impressive to observe over 100 inches of rain.”

Mr. Glenn said the weather service has recording equipment at Michael J. Smith Field in Beaufort, as well. However, the NWS is in the process of back-filling missing data from Florence.

“Its record amount won’t be available for a few months,” Mr. Glenn said. “The same is true for a cooperative observation site at Atlantic Beach and another one in Morehead City. When these correct data are available, we’ll send out information via social media.”

The local NWS office posts its records and more online at weather.gov/mhx/. It also posts to its Twitter account, @NWSMoreheadCity, and its Facebook page, facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity/.

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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