Florence Vaults Wilmington, North Carolina, to Its Record Wettest Year Since 1877

Chris Dolce
Published: September 17, 2018

With more than three months to go in 2018, Wilmington, North Carolina, has already clinched its wettest year on record, boosted by nearly two feet of rain from Hurricane Florence.

Florence's storm rainfall total in Wilmington was 23.02 inches, making it the single wettest weather event in the city dating to 1871.

(MORE: Florence Sets Preliminary State Rain Records in Carolinas)

Including Florence, the coastal North Carolina city has now had 86.22 inches of rain since Jan. 1. That easily exceeds their previous wettest year in 1877, which had 83.65 inches.

This animation shows the estimated rain that has fallen Jan. 1-Sept. 16 compared to the average rain for that same period of time. (NOAA)

Wilmington's annual average rain total of 57.27 inches has also been surpassed by almost 30 inches in 2018.

Even before Florence arrived, Wilmington had already exceeded its yearly average rainfall.

Six out of nine months have had above-average rainfall in Wilmington during 2018, led by May, June and now September.

May (14.36 inches) and September (23.65 inches) of this year both rank as record wet in Wilmington for each respective month.

On top of that, Wilmington had its fourth wettest July with 17.10 inches of rain.

Wilmington averages 10.64 inches of rain in the final three months of the year. It's not out of the question that the final annual total could come close to 100 inches.

It would take a boatload of additional rain for Wilmington to break the state record for most rain in a year.

That title is held by Rosman in western North Carolina which had 129.60 inches of rain in 1964, according to the North Carolina Climate Office.


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